Thursday, February 08, 2007

Clemson Recruiting Mop-up

While South Carolina was basking in the glow of it's new crop of recruits, Clemson's day was far different. Here are the events you might have missed. WR Markish Jones, a Rivals 4-star from Broome High School, signed his letter of intent to go to Clemson. Before he faxed it, he had second thoughts, signed a LOI to Florida State and faxed the second one. The Markish switch was not the only bad news for Clemson. The day before WR Dwight Jones had been told he would be denied admission and could not sign with Clemson. Similarly RB Jo Jo Cox was told that he would be denied admission, also at the last minute.

The Spin coming from Clemson began immediately. The news that Dwight Jones was being denied admission was just 'proof that Markish Jones is coming and we don't have room for Dwight Jones'. After Jo Jo Cox's denial became public, the spin changed to "Clemson has standards, integrity," and yada yada yada ad nauseum. This appears to be the party line still today.

We, as outsiders, may not ever know what is really happening in Clemson. It might be exactly as the administration says - academic standards, or it might be something slightly different.

Consider: When WR Dwight Jones came to campus the Collegiate IPTAY club sent an email out to try to get students to come cheer for him. The Collegiate IPTAY club is equivalent to the Student Gamecock Club. Both of the organizations are affiliated with or branches of booster clubs. Therefore the email from the Collegiate IPTAY club was organization by a booster club for a recruit - an NCAA violation. This is being investigated by both Clemson and the NCAA. This could be unrelated or denial of admission would keep Dwight Jones off campus and lessen the impact of any violations.

Consider: What did happen to Dwight Jones? After Clemson pulled the proverbial rug out from under his feet, where did he land? Alabama Tech? Hickville, Kansas Junior College? No, he ended up at North Carolina, and while I have no affection for North Carolina, it is apparent to any rational human being that North Carolina is a superior academic institution than Clemson.

Consider: When a player has not qualified to get into school, several things usually happen. The first thing to happen player takes the SAT or ACT again or whatever it is that he is having trouble with. If that fails, the player is usually sent to a prep school to work on his grades. We have all heard of Fork Union Military Academy, Hargrave Military Academy, Oak Hill (primarily for basketball), and Georgia Military in Gainesville. These are schools with prep programs. Every major football school that I am aware of utilizes these schools to help recruits who can't qualify. They accept their commitment and work with them to get them into college. Clemson has done this just like everyone else - anyone remember Gaines Adams?

Consider: The Eleventh Hour. That's when Dwight Jones and Jo Jo Cox were told that Clemson had denied them admission and in a break from previous years would not be working with them if they couldn't qualify to help them go to prep school. Why recruit them? Why wait until the last minute?

Consider: Academic Superiority. You are going to hear this many times for a long time. "At Clemson its harder to win because we can't take just anybody." It's true that Clemson can't take just anybody, but they can take anyone the NCAA approves, just like everyone else. Clemson's proof that they are more selective - two recruits who were denied last minute and hung out to dry. Clemson is not the first school to have to deal with recruits who don't immediately qualify. Recently South Carolina faced the same problem with basketball player Chad Gray. He was not accepted on his first go-round. So, South Carolina placed him at Midlands Technical College so that he could study there until he was accepted. That's what normal schools do; hell, that's what Clemson would do - until yesterday.

Is there anything going on at Clemson? Maybe, maybe not. I'm not an insider, but I would be willing to bet quite a bit that Clemson didn't suddenly up its academic standards for football players, and even if they did, what a classless way to let two of your recruits know.


Skipper in Aynor said...

glad to see the General need to post more often...

LJ said...

I have questioned Clemson recruiting tactics in the past; this just makes you wonder what Bowden is doing. I asked a Clemson fan I work with what they thought, and I quote “Clemson is a top rated University academically, we don’t need to let in people that can’t make the grades to win football, kind of like Duke in Basketball.” I ended up throwing up from laughing so hard.

Moose said...

I don't mind clemson raising there standards to become a better university. I always thought that college was a chance to better you future. Clemson might have made a point, but by doing so they have tarnished there integrity for up coming recruiting classes.

General Malaise said...

I also have no problem with Clemson improving its academic standards. They are, for the most part, free to do whatever they want. My criticism is the way in which they told their recruits.

Consider: It is being reported through some sources, the reliability of which is open to question, that Tommy Bowden knew Dwight Jones was not accepted weeks ago. Bowden appealed the ruling and hoped that Jones would get in. He never bothered to so much as mention this to the kid. If Clemson is so proud of its newly found "standards," then perhaps they would have said something earlier.

Opera Singer Man Child said...

Within the past two weeks, Clemson stopped pursuing three prominent recruits because of admission issues: receiver Rashad Mason, running back Brandon Paul and athlete Billy Chavis. Holdover commitment Julius Wilkerson, a former Gaffney linebacker, was denied admission because of differing interpretations on what he needed to do in the fall to fulfill entrance requirements.

CEO Ian said...

This much is known: Parties close to Cox, whom the Tigers placed at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy out of high school, were informed Friday he would not be allowed to sign Wednesday because of a ruling by the school's Athletic Admissions Review Committee.

Jones, a standout receiver also considering Tennessee and North Carolina, was told the same thing Tuesday by Clemson's coaches.

He subsequently signed with UNC.

In January, Clemson backed off athlete Billy Chavis of Beaumont, Texas, who wound up signing with Texas A&M.

At least four instate prospects initially turned down by the review board were granted exemptions by Barker to continue being recruited.

Mentor said...

Running back Jo Jo Cox is still trying to land at Clemson and will not look elsewhere until he feels the door is shut, sources familiar with his recruitment said Thursday.

Cox, a Jeffersonville, Ga., native whom Clemson placed at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, recently learned he would not be allowed to sign Wednesday with the Tigers for academic reasons.

His mentor, James Grant, had said Cox would spend the next few weeks searching for another Division I program to attend.

One school that has already expressed interest is North Carolina, which took the other player Clemson turned away before signing day, touted receiver Dwight Jones.

Contrary to a report, Cox will not have the option of going to USC. Coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday his class was full and would not add another player.