In a piece in today’s JACKSON (MS) CLARION-LEDGER by Kyle Veazey, Houston Nutt drove any credibility he had left in how he recruits and subsequently treats players off a cliff.
(Ask Bailey’s cash-strapped parents about Nutt’s “PEEPA HEPPEN BIDNEZ“)
Nutt, who was recently seen joking about the practice of oversigning in an ESPN expose on the subject - which University of Florida President Berne Machen recently called “despicable” and immoral - defended himself to Veazey thusly:
“I’ve never ran anyone off in my career unless they broke multiple team rules or just committed a serious crime or something like that. That’s never happened.”
Thursday I noted an earlier piece by Veazey that documented seven Ole Miss players who had vanished from the team’s roster since signing day despite those players retaining eligibility.
Of those seven players Nutt claimed in Sunday’s Clarion-Ledger article that all had left the program voluntarily, with the coach going so far as to encourage Veazey to contact the departed to confirm the coach’s claim.
But Veazey reported today that he was unable to reach six of the seven players for comment. The player Veazey did reach, Lekenwic Haynes, refused to talk about his departure from Ole Miss.
And as I noted two days ago, it doesn’t appear the roster purge is over. From his piece today, Veazey wrote:
Just who will be members of the 25 new enrollees this fall remains in flux. Six mid-year transfers are already in school, leaving 19 spots for 22 players that UM signed on Feb. 2. Two players - Madison, Ala., wide receiver Collins Moore and Itawamba AHS quarterback Maikhail Miller - are grayshirt candidates. Eligibility casualties could also make the numbers work.
If you happen to know any of the incoming Ole Miss players, I suggest you point them to this DALLAS MORNING NEWS story about Nutt reneging on a scholarship offer to Dan Bailey in 2006.
Dan Bailey, who recently concluded a stellar four-year career as Oklahoma State’s kicker, was offered a full athletic scholarship in 2006 by Ohio University out of high school. But instead of taking a full ride at Ohio U., Bailey opted to walk-on to Arkansas because then-Coach Nutt promised him an initial academic scholarship that would cover tuition.
The DMN takes it from there:
But soon after losing the competition for the starting job in late August, Bailey was approached by Nutt and (then-Arkansas special teams coach James) Shibest, who told the kicker he would have to pay his own way if he wanted to play football. As they explained at the time, they didn’t realize that Bailey’s partial academic grant would count toward the team’s 85-scholarship limit.
“It wasn’t anything intentional,” Nutt said in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in September 2006. “I can promise you that. I wish things had been made clearer.”
Nutt told Bailey he could earn a full ride by January if he performed well on the field. But Bailey’s parents were outraged. A meeting with athletic director Frank Broyles didn’t mollify them.
“We told them it wasn’t our fault they didn’t know the rules,” said Bailey’s mother, Ann. “That’s your mistake and it’s wrong what you’re doing. You just don’t do that to these kids.”
Bailey and his family couldn’t afford the out-of-state tuition, room and board. His father, Gary, is a production technician at Metal Container Corp. who suffers from chronic rheumatoid arthritis. His mother is a wedding coordinator. So Bailey returned home before Arkansas’ 2006 opener and stayed there for several months. Here was the class valedictorian at Yukon Southwest Covenant, just hanging around doing nothing.
The 2006 season was Nutt’s 14th as a college football head coach, and his 24th overall in the college coaching profession. Nutt has always been regarded as a stellar recruiter who knew every trick in the book. So we’re to believe that someone who coached in college football for nearly a quarter-century didn’t know basic scholarship rules?
Now for perhaps the most illuminating part about Nutt in the Dallas Morning News piece:
Asked about Bailey, Nutt couldn’t remember the kicker who’s about to go up against his current team. “Who?” he asked, his eyes narrowing. Nutt then offered a generic response about special teams.
Was Nutt’s response understandable since his reneging on Bailey’s scholarship offer happened three years earlier?
Considering that at the time he was asked the question about Bailey, Nutt’s Ole Miss Rebels were set to tee it up with Oklahoma State Cowboys - with Bailey as their starting kicker - in less than 48 hours in the Cotton Bowl, no.
Not sure what’s worse, Nutt pretending not to remember screwing Bailey and his family over or if the coach was actually so incompetent that he didn’t know the name of the starting kicker his team would face in two days.
You knew it was coming.