Category Archives: Tommy Bowden: Male Model

Don’t cry for me, Argentina.

Tony Barnhart’s post yesterday on Ray Ray McElrathbey’s situation is a doozy. Entitling his piece “No tears for Ray Ray”, Barnhart asserts that coaches sometimes have to make tough decisions for the good of the program and this is such a case.

That’s fine, as far as it goes. But here’s what gets me. Barnhart claims that “… Bowden is not going to say anything publicly because he doesn’t want to embarrass the kid. So he’ll take the heat.”

Except that’s said after printing this:

The fact is that McElrathbey has been known to have issues with the coaching staff and was less than consistent when it came to attending team functions. The time had come for a change in the relationship for the good of the entire team…

Pardon me if I can’t find anything complimentary in that passage. Unless Barnhart made that up out of thin air, that info had to come from the Clemson staff. But no one is quoted directly. So, Bowden can still claim he hasn’t made a disparaging public comment – he’s just using surrogates in the press to make his point.

All of which is pretty weaselly. Which is the real problem I have with father and son in this oversigning mess.

Yes, kids get run off programs all of the time. Yes, the athletic scholarship is renewable on a year to year basis. And, yes, both of these student athletes will obtain college degrees thanks to being on athletic scholarships.

All of which misses what’s really wrong here. To the extent that oversigning occurred, that the absence of these kids from their respective programs in 2008 was part of the math factored into making offers that led to oversigning and, most importantly, that these kids weren’t told before offers were extended to others that they had no future with their programs is both dishonest and indefensible.

The question that Barnhart and others should ask is what would the status of these two kids likely be right now if FSU and Clemson hadn’t oversigned their most recent classes. Somehow I doubt we’d be having this discourse right now. And those two would be puking their guts out in mat drills this morning. All for the good of their programs…



Filed under It's Just Bidness, Tommy Bowden: Male Model

Ray Ray doesn’t know how good he’s got it.

Finally, the Clemmins spin machine gets some help from the press on the Ray Ray McElrathbey affair. From The Charleston Post and Courier’s Gene Sapakoff comes this:

… It’s possible the coaching staff is doing McElrathbey a favor by not saying why he no longer is wanted as a football player.

It’s definitely not a stretch to say a non-professional football prospect in charge of a young teen might be better off moving on to the college-degreed work force or graduate work without having to worry about a relatively frivolous pursuit.

Sure, it’s possible. It’s also possible that monkeys could come flying out of my butt any minute now.

Sapakoff’s got proof that this move, while clumsily executed, was well-intentioned. Sure, Tommy gets the benefit “… of another football scholarship, which might come in handy some Saturday down the line against Virginia Tech” as a byproduct of his noble gesture, but if he were really trying to be an SOB about things, Sapakoff argues, “there are players he could have run off without having to answer so many questions.” There you go!

Keep in mind it’s not like Tommy has answered any questions about Ray Ray’s fate in the first place. It’s just that he could have ignored fewer questions if he’d canned a lower profile player. So he must have McElrathbey’s best interests at heart. Or something like that.

I’m a little surprised that Spurrier hasn’t weighed in on this yet. Normally he loves to do a little knife twisting. Of course, the way these guys keep sticking their feet in their mouths, maybe it’s better to sit back and watch with a smirk on his face.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Tommy Bowden: Male Model

“It’s your job to ask the question, it’s mine to say no.”

Tommy Bowden opens up to the media about Ray Ray McElrathbey.

The powers that be at Clemmins have to be eagerly awaiting the next spin in the news cycle. Can’t they have the arrest of another Alabama player, or something?


UPDATE:  It’s a family affaaiiir, it’s a family affair


Filed under Tommy Bowden: Male Model

“I kind of feel his pain.”

What to do if you’re Tommy Bowden and you’ve got more scholarship players than the NCAA allows?

Well, you could always hope for just the right amount of attrition, a la Nick Saban. Or you could simply get a little more proactive with matters.

Ray Ray McElrathbey is done with football at Clemson, and a teammate said it’s because the Tigers’ coaching staff decided not to renew his scholarship for the 2008-09 academic year.

Clemson announced Saturday that McElrathbey, a reserve tailback who gained national fame for taking custody of his younger brother, is no longer with the team. Team spokesman Tim Bourret said McElrathbey, who has two years of football eligibility remaining, will graduate in August and plans to attend graduate school or transfer and play elsewhere.

James Davis, a senior tailback for the Tigers, said McElrathbey told him he didn’t have a choice.

“He said something about how they weren’t going to renew his scholarship,” said Davis, who has been friends with McElrathbey since their high school days in Atlanta. “It really surprised me. But there’s a lot of stuff you can’t say. It’s something I guess everybody has to learn to live with.”

It sounds like nobody can say. According to Davis, McElrathbey ain’t talking because he “doesn’t want them to badmouth his name if he wants to play football somewhere else.” And Tommy’s hiding behind the veil of plausible deniability.

After Clemson wrapped up its first practice of the spring Saturday, which Ray Ray did not participate in, Coach Tommy Bowden did not confirm or deny that he initiated McElrathbey’s departure to free up a scholarship.

Will there be a backlash? Davis seems to think that’s a possibility.

Davis wonders whether all this will have negative recruiting repercussions for the Tigers.

“There’s a lot of guys they recruit in Atlanta,” he said. “People are going to ask: ‘What happened to Ray Ray?’ His high school (Mays High), they’ve got a lot of talented guys coming out of there.”

By “people”, I assume he means “coaches from other schools competing for Clemmins recruits”.

It’s probably a good thing for Bowden that Davis is a senior. I bet he’d be a helluva host for some of next year’s recruits.


UPDATE: The Wiz has some more thoughts on this.


UPDATE #2:  Orson at EDSBS has some good follow up on the story.  As he says, your mileage may vary.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Tommy Bowden: Male Model

We have to admit it’s getting better… it’s getting better all the time.

When last we left our intrepid heroes, the head football coaches from the two D-1 programs in the Palmetto State, both were  plainly upset about the inability of the pointy heads in the admissions offices at their two respective institutions of higher learning to get with the program.

The football program, that is.

But it’s clear with the passing of a year that time heals all wounds. Check out Steve Spurrier, channelling his inner Chico Escuela:

“The university’s been very good with us,” Spurrier said Wednesday.

That’s nice.  Tommy concurs.

“I applaud our administration for working out a system that pretty much levels the playing field,” Bowden said Wednesday.


So what exactly did the schools do?  South Carolina doesn’t say explicitly, but at Clemmins the steps taken to grease the skids

… included not tying admissions to the national letter of intent and letting the athletic review committee use a program’s NCAA graduation success rate and academic progress rate in a sliding scale to determine a student-athlete’s admission.

And with that, peace in our time.  Everyone involved is at least… well, let’s let Tommy have the last word here.

… Spurrier doesn’t expect to call any recruits with bad admissions news this time around. And Bowden thinks Clemson’s policy changes were “awful advantageous” this year.

In addition, Bowden says, those in academics at the school and those in the “athletic arena are relatively happy with where we are.”

Everything is relative, you know.

I think Tommy came out the big winner on this.  According to Scout, Clemmins recruiting ranking rose from 23rd in 2007 to 11th in 2008.  South Carolina’s numbers actually fell from 7th to 34th in that same period.  (Rivals tells a similar tale with its rankings.)  Maybe there’s room in Columbia to do a little more tweaking with the admissions process.

After all, if at first you don’t succeed…

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Recruiting, The Evil Genius, Tommy Bowden: Male Model

He couldn’t find a purple sport coat?

As fashion statements go, jeez, this is heinous.

Honestly, he’d look better in an Oregon jersey.

(h/t Fanblogs


Filed under Tommy Bowden: Male Model

Tommy Bowden is a big fan of Southern Conference football.

Or at least the Appalachian State-Furman rivalry.

And if you’re a midwesterner, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous Detroit Free Press Writer, you can’t understand that. And if you can’t understand that, you can’t understand Tommy Bowden.

“I was shocked,” Bowden said. “Appalachian State and Furman are rivals, so it would be very natural for me to make a comparison. I guess people in that part of the country are not familiar with the Appalachian State-Furman rivalry and how close it’s been.”

By the way, last year ASU beat Furman 40-7. But I’m sure the game was much closer than the score indicated.


Filed under College Football, General Idiocy, Tommy Bowden: Male Model