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Sprints // 03.10.09

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Arrested Developments. Two things that never belong in the same sentence: "McDonald's" and "brass knuckles." But, doing his part to help Houston Nutt whittle down the 82nd Airborne Recruiting Class, Jamar Hornsby allegedly assaulted someone. In the McDonald's drive-thru. With brass knuckles.

Hornsby might not believe in magic, but he believes in retribution. Again, allegedly.

Assuming we can strike all those "allegedlys," this could be more than just a football issue for Hornsby.

But wasn't Jamar Hornsby already on probation in Alachua County for that whole credit card thing? Why, yes he was. Breaking his probation in Mississippi could trigger a four-year prison sentence back here in Gainesville. Then again, assaulting someone with brass knuckles (yes, brass knuckles are illegal) in Starkville, Miss., calls for a 20-year prison sentence all by itself.

Which is where this suddenly stops being funny, if it ever really was.

At some point, reality sets in. These young men, with the physical gifts to claim a free education and -- if they're good enough -- a career worth millions of dollars, seem all too willing to throw it away. Even after they get chance after chance, like Hornsby. Or like former Arkansas star Matt Jones, who is now in jail.

Then there are the "first timers," the players who get in trouble for something like DUI. (HT: Red Solo Cup) What separates those who turn things around -- as I hope Sterling does, and have no reason to believe he won't -- from those like Hornsby or Jones?

And what are we to believe when a player like Carl Johnson is cleared of one of several charges because of "insufficient evidence," when none of the other allegations are likely to be substantially addressed? The presumption of innocence is nice as a legal theory, but can it be practically applied to sports? Or should we even try?

No, it's all well and good to have the Fulmer Cup and to make jokes about believing in magic, because we don't have to live with the all-too-serious consequences.

There are some consequences for fans, of course -- choices, if you will. Cheer or sit silently when that player on your team who was charged with assault scores the winning touchdown? Remember the man behind the helmet when the defensive tackle charged with drunk driving sacks the quarterback, or pretend that the athlete and the human being are separate people?

None of these questions are easily answered, and the answers will likely be different for different people.

That doesn't mean they shouldn't be asked.

Quickly, the rest of the news:
--Baseball polls: Georgia moves to No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball rankings after LSU's two weekend losses. The Bayou Bengals are No. 3, South Carolina is No. 17, Florida No. 19, Mississippi is No. 20 and Kentucky continues its strangehold on 29th place on the Top 30 poll. Mississippi State is gone. Baseball America has LSU at No. 4, Georgia at No. 8, Ole Miss at No. 14 and Arkansas at No. 18
--Alabama's new graduate assistant used to be an offensive coordinator. This wouldn't, of course, be a Kiffinesque attempt to dodge the rules on coaching limits. No, not at all. He's getting a master's and everything.
--Speaking of Alabama, Julio Jones is now a student senator. Nick Saban placed fourth in the polling for SGA president, but only because he doesn't have time for that politics $***.
--And speaking of Boy Wonder in Knoxville, Kiffin yammers. Yours truly responds. And Urban Meyer is most assuredly not using Boy Wonder's words as bulletin board material.
--Billy Gillispie knows what one of Kentucky's problems is. But he's not telling.
--Mike Slive has a new three-year contract. Meaning that when it runs out, ESPN will be the de facto SEC Network for the next 12 years.