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August 8, 2008

The Pres' Palouse Park Bench - It's 8/8/08, Feelin' Lucky?

We all know E.J. Savannah, the leading tackler last year for the Washington Husky football team, was going to be out of the first few games of the year with a broken arm he suffered while arm wrestling.

Now we know he's on academic probation indefinitely.

UW redshirt freshman tight end Chris Izbicki was arrested for minor in possession and second-degree trespass after he tried to sneak into the VIP area at a concert at the White River Amphitheatre.

He was breath tested (for a minor in possession charge, I'm not sure why) and blew a .24 BAC, three times the legal limit even if he was legal.

This got me thinking - which can be dangerous. College athletes tend to misbehave - a lot - especially when their egos get blown way out of proportion; which probably has something to do with the amount of sorority girls that get thrown at them.

An obvious statement, I realize. But when you get down to it, doesn't it seem like an awful lot of them are breaking laws, drinking booze underage and jumping off the deck of a fraternity (thank you Tyler Hansbrough).

For example and yes, I'm going to list as many as I know of:


Jimmy Clausen has been photographed at a party playing drinking games and Notre Dame is investigating the incident because Clausen is underage and appears to be drinking.

First of all, he is drinking. Second of all, it happens all the time in college, get over it Notre Dame. Third, don't get over it. I hate Jimmy Clausen. Make him do Bible study with a nun that thwacks him on the knuckles with a yardstick.

Georgia Bulldog players Donovan Baldwin and Marcus Dowtin were hit in the head with bottles in a closing time fight at a bar in Athens. The team's long snapper Jeff Henson was later arrested for urinating on the wall of a bank. Former Bulldog Michael Lemon accompanied Baldwin and Dowtin to the hospital and was arrested for a minor in possession after he was seen hitting and kicking garbage cans outside the hospital.

Wow…way to be mature and celebrate your preseason number one ranking in a totally legal and appropriate fashion.

Cougar defensive tackle Fevaea'i Ahmu was arrested for minor in possession and for breaking a window at a fraternity. Phi Kappa Alpha said they would not to press charges after Ahmu agreed to pay for the broken window.

Definitely got off easy on this one. Although I won't complain, he's a Coug.

Xavier Hicks, Jr.….well, I won't get into that, we all know the incredible myriad of problems he's had. That would be a whole other article.

I saved the best one for last.

Eastern Kentucky wide out Davin Walker was arrested for shoplifting at a Wal-Mart. And trust me, he didn't steal what you'd think he would - a cell phone battery charger, a bottle of feminine hygiene spray and…ahem… a box of feminine cleaning products.

At this point, you could dedicate a daily show on ESPN to all the trouble athletes are getting these days. So, now that you have read all the examples and had a hardy chuckle at them, you need to know exactly why this is all happening and what can be done. Well don't worry, Uncle Michael is here let you in on a little secret….

Nothing can be done.

Frankly, we all know exactly why this type of behavior occurs. For one, a lot of us either went to college or visited friends in college and know all about the parties. They are wild, the alcohol flows like the Nile, the women are barely clothed and the music is so loud, your eardrum begs for mercy. Normal males are out of control enough in this setting, as a normal male I know these things.

Luckily for yours truly though, I have something keeping me from doing anything too stupid, I call it a girlfriend.

But when you throw a college athlete into this setting, he's a celebrity. So the alcohol flows more freely, the music gets louder and the women tend to be even flirtier than they normally are.

Because of all the acclaim and celebrity, these men can begin to think that they are above the law and begin to get into trouble.

The problem for just about every college program is there is not real way to prevent this behavior.

The worst thing is, aside from locking them in dorm rooms whenever they're not in class or practice, there is really nothing colleges can do. You can't impose curfew on players, if recruits know this they won't come to your school. And, to a certain degree, that kind of restriction unfairly takes away a huge part of the college experience.

But you also can't come down to hard on the players that do get in trouble. Once again, recruits will want to go out to these parties should they commit to your program and they will see that punishment and be deterred from coming to your school. Donors and alumni could also see you as being too heavy handed.

So really, other than discouraging their athletes from going to these parties and punishing the ones that do go with little more than a slap on the hand, what more can a program do?

Nothing really. These kids are valuable recruits who you sunk a lot of time into and you won't just let them go.

Example: Jerramy Stevens sexually assaulted a woman and drove his car into a retirement home at UW. He stayed on the team.

To sum it up, this cycle will never stop. Players will always go to parties and some of them will get in trouble. All you can do is hope your coaches can keep most of your players in line.

Either that or give them electric ankle bracelets. And erect invisible fences around all bars and frat houses. Sounds like a good solution.

Before we get to the picks, quick congratulations and salutations to all Cougar Olympians. They have all worked long and hard to get to the Olympics and they all deserve our full support.

Good luck to Bernard Lagat, Diana Pickler and Ian Waltz, who will be competing for Team USA in the 1500 and 5000 meters, heptathlon and men's discus, respectively. Represent your country and your Cougar nation with pride.


PICKS:

Once again, no football to pick so we'll go with something else.

Over/Under: 89

Angry e-mails president Elson S. Floyd has received from angry parents of incoming freshman since the university announced they'll be serving hard liquor in the CUB and at Palouse Ridge.





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