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-08-25-2004 #1DJRamFan Guest
USC still unsure of WR Williams' status
Aug. 24, 2004
By Dennis Dodd
SportsLine.com Senior Writer
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It's looking less likely that USC receiver Mike Williams will play in Saturday's season opener against Virginia Tech.
Williams' eligibility status remained up in the air Tuesday, four days before the season begins. He is attempting to regain his amateur status after declaring for the NFL draft, hiring an agent and accepting money from his representative.
Coach of the No. 1 Trojans, an optimistic Pete Carroll, said on Tuesday there is a "possibility" that Williams could still play in the opener. However, time is running out.
USC faxed what is thought the be the final documents needed by the NCAA regarding Williams on Tuesday. The school now awaits the NCAA's decision.
A school source considered Williams' chance at reinstatement at "50-50 at best."
"It's been so frustrating of late that things have not been able to culminate to an end," Carroll said. "We'll just sit on it and see what happens."
With him, USC gets another Heisman Trophy candidate (quarterback Matt Leinart already is considered the favorite) added to its already powerful lineup. Without him, the Trojans will have to move on with a largely inexperienced, but talented, set of receivers.
USC already will be missing starting tailback Hershel Dennis, who is indefinitely suspended for a violation of team rules.
While there is no "drop dead" date for Williams to be able play this week, the team leaves for the Washington D.C. area on Thursday. Presumably, Williams could hop on a flight as late as Friday, if he is cleared.
"The NCAA has been so methodical about this," Carroll said. "I'm not surprised it's gone this long, just by the feel of it."
Williams has been held out of practice the past two weeks as USC put in the game plan for Virginia Tech. Most likely, there are three possible outcomes to his future:
He could be declared permanently ineligible by the NCAA;
He could be reinstated by the NCAA;
He could be reinstated by the NCAA after being suspended for one or more games.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound rising junior has been one of the most dominant receivers in the country the past two years. The Tampa, Fla., product caught 95 passes for 1,314 yards and 16 touchdowns last year in helping lead the Trojans to a co-national championship. He was projected as a first-round choice after declaring for the draft.
Williams declared for the NFL draft after Maurice Clarett's legal challenge briefly opened the door to players less than three years out of high school. The NFL retained its three-year rule because of a stay by an appellate court. A desperate last-chance appeal by Clarett to the Supreme Court was fruitless.
After the NFL defended its rules, Williams became ineligible in the NCAA's eyes because he had hired an agent and accepted money. Since then he has declared his intention to gain back his eligibility.
Complicating matters is the fact that Williams dropped out of school last semester. He will not only have to win reinstatement of his amateur status, but also get a progress-toward-a-degree waiver from the NCAA; Williams did not return to school until the second summer-school session.
"The thing that struck me so hard is that he jumped the gun," said sports law expert Gary Roberts, deputy dean of the Tulane Law School. "He took some very bad advice in declaring and signing with an agent.
"He knew the Clarett thing would be appealed. He could have and should have waited. He could have publicly said, 'If Clarett prevails, I'm going to come out, too.' He not only declared his eligibility for the NFL Draft, he did everything he needed to do to get ineligible."
Meanwhile, USC will move on, playing as many as six true freshmen against the Hokies on Saturday night at FedEx Field. That includes 6-5, 195-pound receiver Dwayne Jarrett from New Brunswick, N.J., who has been called a Johnson clone.
"To be honest, I don't think it would change too much," Leinart said of Williams' absence. "Having him in the offense does create a little change. He's a big time playmaker. He makes plays all over the field. But we've got the same playbook. We do things without him. ... We haven't tweaked the system at all."
Re: USC still unsure of WR Williams' statusOriginally Posted by DJRamFan(Dennis Dodd)
Williams was just trying to earn a livelihood as soon as legitimately possible. Even if Williams assumed that any decision would be appealed, he risked not getting to the NFL a year earlier had the lower court's decision been upheld and he did not abide by the conditional entry structure the NFL put in place after Clarett's team gained an early legal and morally defensible ruling.
Deputy Dean Roberts should be well aware that the NFL is in moral breach and operates under indefensible monopolistic practices. He knows fully well that the cultural pendulium has already shifted and it is only a matter of time when NFL draft restrictions are over-thrown. He should have been on the side of common sense and argued that Williams should be allowed reentry into the NCAA immediately.
They are now penalizing Williams for having believed in the justice system actually dispensing justice. Ooops, sorry kid, you're not old enough to know the truth about the inertia of the system. And Roberts defends it while he gives it all a cloak of respectability. Oh, maybe the King is wearing no clothes and we are all supposed to believe what the king's cronies parrot - "It's the kid's fault." "It's the kid's fault."
Re: USC still unsure of WR Williams' status
halt everything that is turning in this solar system. I actually agree 100% with adarian.
I swear, Mars and Jupiter must be aligned.
Re: USC still unsure of WR Williams' statusOriginally Posted by txramsfan
-08-26-2004 #5DJRamFan Guest
Re: USC still unsure of WR Williams' status
The NCAA is a mess anyway. They strike down on one thing, then let someone else slide and offer contradictory penalties. My main beef is the differences in eligibility for the four major sports where being drafted doesn't have an effect for hockey and baseball, but it does for basketball and football.
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