Florida State linebacker and leading tackler A.J. Nicholson, sent home from the Orange Bowl in the wake of an accusation of rape. Miami receiver Ryan Moore, suspended by UM from the Peach Bowl for violating team policy. Texas players, investigated for allegations of burglary as the Rose Bowl approaches...
The ill-timed carelessness of college football players is staggering. It's not a guilt/innocence issue. Not at first. It's a matter of a player, preparing for maybe the biggest game of his life, putting himself in a position to attract the wrong kind of attention.
Nicholson may be not guilty of any crime; let's hope so. Hell, for all we know right now, his accuser may have been paid to accuse by a deranged Penn State booster. But Nicholson obviously put himself in a situation that left him vulnerable.
The words of Bobby Bowden, discussing the matter of Nicholson and the like, ring, and echo. The words are naive, old-school, quaintly parental, and dead-on accurate: "If they'd do what they're supposed to do, it'd be alright. But..."
But they sometimes don't, and then the sad headlines happen.