Wed Jun 29 07:56am EDT
Making the morning rounds.
• Of course you knew, this means war. Short-lived Pittsburgh coach Mike Haywood has asked the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and other state and federal agencies to investigate the university's decision to fire him on the heels of a felony domestic violence arrest on New Year's Eve, just 17 days after he accepted the job. (Haywood, who was set to make $7.5 million over five years, agreed in February to enter a court diversion program and perform 60 hours of community service in exchange for having the charge dropped.) Haywood's attorney, Tony Buzbee, also said in a letter to the university on Tuesday that he is "exploring other motives" for his client's termination.
"In their rush to judgment, Pitt officials did not bother to contact the alleged victim or even the coach himself," Buzbee wrote. "I believe the university violated its contract with the coach, the university's employment procedures, and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Had Pitt conducted even a cursory investigation, it would have determined that the alleged incident simply did not occur as reported, and the termination would not have occurred." [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Associated Press]
• Witnesses for the defense. Contradicting the testimony of multiple teammates, three current and former Central Florida players and an assistant coach told an Orlando jury Tuesday that water and trainers were on hand throughout the March 2008 workout that ended with the fatal collapse of 19-year-old running back Ereck Plancher. Last week, a former team captain and another ex-UCF player both testified in the wrongful death suit brought by Plancher's family that head coach George O'Leary ordered water and trainers off the field as the team prepared to run a drill, then proceeded to berate Plancher when he showed signs of struggle, charges O'Leary strongly denied when he took the stand last Thursday.
Former UCF receiver Jamar Newsome said on Tuesday that O'Leary only ordered water off the main field to get it out of the players' way, not out of the facility, and current running back Rocky Ross said he recalled a trainer giving him water during the workout. Wide receivers coach David Kelly also said water and trainers were always available, and players know as a matter of course that they can stop a workout if they're feeling distressed. Asked if anyone ordered water or trainers out of the facility on the day Plancher died, Kelly said "Absolutely not." [Orlando Sentinel]
• The Rap Sheet. Eddie Rife, owner of the Columbus tattoo parlor where Ohio State players allegedly traded championship rings and other memorabilia in exchange for assorted benefits, pled guilty Tuesday to federal charges of money laundering and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Regular readers will recognize this as the same investigation that resulted in former coach Jim Tressel being tipped to possible violations by multiple players in April 2010, just a few weeks after the feds discovered the memorabilia in a raid on Rife's home, and that set the wheels in motion for the eventual departures of Tressel and quarterback Terrelle Pryor when investigators dropped the violations in Ohio State's lap last December. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]
• Another one bites the dust. As expected, Alabama has dismissed one player, safety Robby Green (right, in 2009), and suspended two others, Keiwone Malone and Darrington Sentimore, all of whom were already rumored to be on their way out of Tuscaloosa. Green missed the entire 2010 season as an academic casualty; Sentimore and Malone are in the doghouse for an undisclosed "violation of team rules and policy." Their pending departures will bring the Tide's total attrition to seven players since the end of last season — almost enough to get in under NCAA-mandated scholarship limits for the upcoming season. [al.com]
• Ve know nothink. Georgia has been in contact with the NCAA and SEC over possible violations by linebacker Jarvis Jones, who allegedly took free flights to Los Angeles as a recruit courtesy of an unauthorized bank account operated by two city employees in his hometown of Columbus, Ga. Predictably, Georgia officials are expected to argue they had no knowledge of improper benefits when they recruited Jones or his AAU basketball teammate, hyped UGA hoops signee Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, whose mother allegedly paid off a cell phone bill with money from the same account. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Quickly… Rogers Redding is already dreading reaction to the new celebration rule that could take touchdowns off the board. … Auburn's trying to get a Florida transfer eligible to play this fall. … Tennessee has some issues with the USA Today's accounting. … Does this guy really think Russell Wilson is a Heisman Trophy candidate? … And Texas' latest verbal commitment for 2012 certainly has the confidence of his high school coach.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.