Sprints // 05.06.09

Yes, it is about one student. Daniel Hood is not your exemplary recruit. Not even close. Even Hood admits that his involvement at age 13 in a sexual assault is a "heinous" crime. (Warning: Links go to items discussing the darker side of humanity.) Which it is -- few are less inclined than C&F to minimize the devastating impact of sexual assualt or to give those who commit it a pass.

So should Tennessee have given Hood a second chance? Well, a lot of this is probably going to depend on whether or not you view the world through orange shades. But at least a few people seem to think that Hood deserves another shot -- and he seems willing to accept responsibility.

"But I think it's not trying to put it in a corner and forget it ever happened. I think you have to take it and learn from it and grow from it. ... I've got a debt to (the victim) that I can never repay, just trying to throw it away like it never happened would be the worst thing I could do for her."

According to UT athletic department director of public relations Tiffany Carpenter, the victim wrote a letter on Hood's behalf urging the university to admit him. ...

Stan Branson, Catholic's dean of students, was among those who recommended UT give Hood, who posted a 3.8 GPA and a 27 on his ACT, a chance.

"He's one of the most looked-up-to young men at our school," Branson said. "I don't know of anyone that would say a harsh word against him at Knoxville Catholic. To me, he's just an ideal young man. ... I can't say anything will ever happen. But I sincerely in my heart feel that he will live an exemplary life."

That's not enough for John Adams, who says Hood could continue Tennessee's reputation as an outlaw program. (It's not called the Fulmer Cup for nothing.)

So there's compelling evidence Hood will follow the straight and narrow at UT. And everyone deserves a second chance, right?

Right. But that doesn't make it right for UT. Let Hood pursue his college education and play football for a program with a less troubled past. There's too much history at UT. If Kiffin didn't understand that, then athletic director Mike Hamilton should have filled him in. ...

This isn't about one student-athlete. It's about a program with an image problem.

But C&F finds this line of argument troubling. Hood "deserves a second chance" -- but not in Knoxville because of Tennessee's "image problem"? At what point should a university put aside its public relations concerns and decide that a student who needs another chance gets another chance? Isn't molding imperfect individuals into exemplary citizens supposed to be the mission of higher education, if not college athletics?

The only other schools Hood applied to are Ole Miss and Carson-Newman College. No word on whether either of the other schools had offered a scholarship. But what if they hadn't? Tennessee should allow Hood to twist in the wind, to try to walk on somewhere, to potentially end up in a position where returning to some sort of crime would be more tempting, not less, to solve its PR problem?

As much of a problem as C&F has with Lane Kiffin, I'm willing to give him a pass on this one. Saying "This guy deserves another chance, but not here" isn't virtue.

It's hypocrisy.

Training room. Julio Jones and Jerrell Powe both go under the knife to try to fix problems ahead of the season (now less than four months away).

Meanwhile, in Nashville, Brandon Bryant works to heal from leg injuries in time to at least get in one full season. He hopes it will happen, hopes to become a factor for the Dores -- but his time runs short.

On that note, one of my favorite SEC players ever -- Tyrone Prothro -- is continuing his progress toward a coaching job. So, Mr. Bryant, even if the injury lingers, all hope is not lost.

A simply incredible post by Orson. Of course, most of them are but this one in particular. If for some inexplicable reason you haven't read the post, do so now. And if, like C&F, you haven't read the book, at least put it on your list.

Urban Meyer's has a soul. Not that he wants anybody to necessarily know about it or anything, but Meyer appears to be more than just a text-messaging, recruiting and coaching robot.

(Borrowing Orson's phrasing:) Disengage seriousness. The return to frivolous mocking of news resumes in 3... 2... 1...

Nick Saban, domestic guru. Apparently, St. Nick does have time for this movie ****, playing himself in the movie adaptation of The Blind Side.

During his in-home visit with the prospect, Saban tells Oher's mother, "I love those window treatments" in the family's house. And everyone is impressed because not only did he offer a nice compliment, but he also used the term "window treatments" instead of curtains or whatever.

Maybe he does make ginger snaps.

Blood from a turnip. When you recruit 37 players, it helps to keep all your scholarships.

UM would have until the 2010-11 school year to cut the three scholarships, meaning the sanctions don't necessarily have to affect this fall's incoming class.

... it appears unlikely UM will have any scholarships to spare in this fall's class and the NCAA won't take away scholarships already promised, meaning the reductions might have to come from the 2010 class.

This could have a sizable impact on the Rebels in three or four years -- not to mention Rev. Nutt. Remember, David Cutcliffe got one losing season and he was gone.

Bittle supposedly okay. The Rebels' key baseball starter, meanwhile, is said to be fine despite a "tender bicep." Red Cup Rebellion sees this as no more than a diabolical plot. I think. It's kind of a, well, riddle.

An understanding fiancee. And so it begins for Bruce Pearl's beloved.

Pearl said he proposed last week, although the couple has yet to set a date for their wedding.

"It all revolves around recruiting and scheduling, but I'm very blessed and very fortunate," Pearl said.

Get used to hearing that a lot, future Mrs. Pearl.

No Big Ten expansion. So says the always forward-looking Jim Delany.

"The issue has come up with our football coaches a couple times -- with the extra week and if we did expand, would we be more competitive?" Delany said. "I would say in some years they might be right. But has it enhanced the competitiveness of the ACC in football? Has it enhanced the competitiveness of the WAC? I don't know."

Would now be the right time to point out that in the last three years, the WAC has placed two teams in the BCS and the Big Ten has placed two non-champions in the BCS?

Wind Sprints. Also Wanted: Unicorns, world peace, an end to poverty ... Better know a cupcake: Georgia takes on New Mexico State in 2011; The Fightin' Aggies ... Gamecocks fans and "What Ifs" are like passers-by and car crashes. You should know better than to look, but you can't help ...

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