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Are high-end troublemakers worth it?

RugbyBuck

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Apr 29, 2004
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I hijacked another thread with this question last week and no one bit. The more I thought about it though, the more it seemed worth discussing and I'm interested in the various perspectives out there.

Are extremely high-end players like MoC, Randy Moss, Lawrence Phillips (not Izzy and Ira or the knuckleheads at Colorado) worth the baggage? Does their marginal utility outweigh their cost? O'Brien definitely doesn't think so with basketball. Is or should football be different? Does taking a chance make sense at some schools and not others? What factors should/should not be considered?
 

RugbyBuck

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My fault. I meant college and didn't specify. Yes, it's crystal clear that Moss and Phillips have had different pro careers. I didn't mean to restrict the discussion to just those players. Just illustrating the type of talent I think MIGHT be worth the trouble. The Miami-Willie Williams thing brought up the question. Is a high-end talent like Williams, MoC, or Moss worth the use of a scholarship given the problems and baggage they bring? Although they clearly are individual cases, I imagine that there are issues/trends common among them.

We essentially bought our NC with MoC's scholarship. We also bought an enormous amount of negative publicity and, arguably, lack of focus last year that adversely affected the team. Marshall brought Moss in and he put them on the map. Although Donnan had done a great job with them before Moss, they were still only known regionally, at best. How can you best judge the "marginal utility" of players of phenomenal talent and an excellent chance of creating problems for your program? Is it possible to figure that out from the cases we have already seen?
 
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Naplesbuckeye

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Mar 13, 2004
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I feel like I am in a fricken Econ class....

I don't think that a lot of colleges look at it that way. Colleges are abreast of kids behavior and past transgressions when they recruit the kid. If the kid qualifies academically he is in. This was the old sentiment at OSU under Coop. and Conley this is largely the sentiment across the NCAA D I football as well.

Many argue that Tress. now limits and approves each player before they are extended a formal offer. Many stated that Tress. was putting "unreasonable" limitations on recruits that handcuffed the coaches when compared to recruiting rivals. Parenthetically, people offered this is the main reason that Conley stepped down, however it could be speculation as well.

Does their marginal utility outweigh their cost? I believe that it does but it has to be taken player for player. Clarett is an example as you pointed out. I believe the coaching staff knew what they were getting into but I don't believe they knew he would be as good as he was. Moss would be looked at the same way. Obviously, Guilford' wasn't but others were. Every school excerises this right and I believe that we should as well but that doesnt look to be the course.
 
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To an unanswerable question, the reply is: "How long is a piece of string?"


The choice is made easier when a 17 or 18-year-old h.s. all-star has a history of poor grades, run-ins w/police and little social intercourse in their environment.

There will always be a conundrum for HC's at college level in either accepting or denying a good player who may grade out as "marginal"...one whose talent may be overshadowed by a troublesome, non-conforming personality.

Who would have predicted MC's behavior of skipping midterms, lying on insurance forms and accepting, then lying about financial support from a "friend", thus putting his own future at jeopardy?

As for buying MC for our NC...we 'bought' 85 schollies for that NC...if you want to look at it that way.
 
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BrutusBobcat

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Here is a breakdown on the three cases:

MoC. Generated some negative pub for tOSU, but contributed mightily to a MNC. Hurt himself more than the program. Only "useful" for one season, but if you have it to do over, you take him, IMO.

Randy Moss. Great grab for Marshall. Didn't do anything to embarass the university while there, and was huge in getting them respect in D1A along with Pennington. Definitely you take him, ganja charge or not.

Lawrence Phillips. The only one of the three to commit a violent crime. Obviously an outstanding running back, and a huge part of a very successful Nebraska team. If you have it to do over again, you skip this guy. Good or not, he turned out to be a thug and really tarnished Osborne and NU's rep.

As SanClemente said, you can't predict a lot of this stuff. Hindsight is 20/20. My personal line is at violent crimes. I knew guys in college who smoked some weed, or who were immature. Being a thug is different, and that's what Phillips was/is. I would skip on Willie Williams. Miami is screwing up bad with that kid. He is going to seriously embarrass their program.
 
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BB73

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BrutusBobcat,

I agree with your evaluations on all players.

To me, it's amazing how tOSU has received more negative publicity nationally for MoC than Nebraska did for Phillips.

Phillips scaled a wall to get to his girlfriend's 3rd floor apartment, physically assaulted her and dragged her down the stairway to the building's foyer. He was also trespassing in the apartment of teammate Scott Frost. Frost was an unknown frosh transfer in 1995, who later was the starting QB in their 1997 NC year (the one with the OT victory at Missouri after the kicked ball was called a TD on the last play of the game, and then the coaches gave Osborne a going-away NC after the bowl win over Tenn).

And of course in 1995 Osborne reinstated Phillips to the team, after 'agreeing with Phillips' that the woman was 'dragged down the stairs, and there were injuries'. At that point I lost all respect for Osborne.
 
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Oh8ch

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I wish there was a way to identify how many MoCs are out there who never got into any trouble. Kids who had a bit of history in HS, but who - given some guidance and discipine - kept their noses clean for 3-4 years of college FB.

As stated above there is a categorical difference between Mo's behavior and Phillips. Mo is not a thug - just a head case. Irizarry is another interesting example who, by most accounts, had "Junior Chamber of Commerce President" written all over him. What criteria are you going to use?

On the other hand I knew enough about Greg Simpson from Lima to know that Ayers had his hands full. That kid was a thug in HS and he is the sort you DON'T take a chance on if you are an OSU.

IMO most problem children are in the MoC/Irizarry class - and most make it through college without embarassing their schools.
 
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Apr 20, 2004
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BrutusBobcat said:
Here is a breakdown on the three cases:

MoC. Generated some negative pub for tOSU, but contributed mightily to a MNC. Hurt himself more than the program. Only "useful" for one season, but if you have it to do over, you take him, IMO.

Randy Moss. Great grab for Marshall. Didn't do anything to embarass the university while there, and was huge in getting them respect in D1A along with Pennington. Definitely you take him, ganja charge or not.

Lawrence Phillips. The only one of the three to commit a violent crime. Obviously an outstanding running back, and a huge part of a very successful Nebraska team. If you have it to do over again, you skip this guy. Good or not, he turned out to be a thug and really tarnished Osborne and NU's rep.

As SanClemente said, you can't predict a lot of this stuff. Hindsight is 20/20. My personal line is at violent crimes. I knew guys in college who smoked some weed, or who were immature. Being a thug is different, and that's what Phillips was/is. I would skip on Willie Williams. Miami is screwing up bad with that kid. He is going to seriously embarrass their program.
Moss i think bounced around at notre dame (i dont think he actually played there) i think he had a robbery charge to his name but this is only my recollection-somebody's gotta know the background info
 
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MililaniBuckeye

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This wasn't just a problem before he came to Columbus. He recruited James Whitley to play for the Penguins after he had been dismissed from Michigan.

This practice will only be tolerable so long as Tressel is winning.


Say what? How long have you been following Buckeye football? Cooper recruited far more thug-types to Ohio State than Tressel has. Oh yeah, what was Whitley dismissed from Michigan for? Never mind, I found out. By the way, Whitley never player for YSU...
 
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