Bowden: Not really a Clemson guy.
After reading a couple of articles about it, and listening to EDSBS's take, I took a few days to mull over my initial reaction of the whole "Ray Ray McElrathbey scholarship" situation. My initial gut reaction was to gather a West Virginia-esque mob and chase Bowden and his staff out of town with pitchforks and torches ("Not much has changed in Clemson." Just thought I should go ahead and get that terrible Gamecock chain email joke out of the way). Now that I've slept on it a few days, my current gut reaction is to find Bowden and put my thumbs into his eyes and press as hard as I can. Seriously, he claims to be such a good person and has shown a bit of the "Second Chance" mantra that his father has, then he will turn around and do something like this.
Now keeping this in mind, Ray Ray plays running back and took a back seat to Davis, Spiller, and Sadat Chambers last year due to an injury and separation of talent. Now that we signed two huge recruits to add to our running back stable, we need to shave some fat from the ass of our ball carrying squad. Chambers gets moved to safety and Ray Ray gets dropped and is supposed to eat shit and grin. I could understand if the guy's situation was different, but at least give him a chance.
Here are some stream of consciousness statements from my point of view:
- Ray Ray's rough past and his decision to adopt his little brother and the accompanied situation is a huge public relations boost for Clemson. Doing this is really bad PR for us.
- The injury didn't help, but people tend to forget he did start 13 games on special teams as a freshman and did alright.
- He's graduating as a JUNIOR with two years of eligibility left. He had some troubles with academics a bit back, but got on the honor roll while taking 21 hours last semester. Also, he seems to be in good enough graces to be a potential candidate for graduate school.
- Clemson has said that as long as he pursues a degree here, they will honor his scholarship. There is not a specific time frame on this so I'm taking from this that if he took seven years to graduate they'd give him the money but if he graduates in three then screw him if he wants to stay here and play football.
- Why not cut a lower level player that will probably never make an actual impact and has enough money to go here as a normal student. For instance, someone who joined as a walk on and got a scholarship, why not cut them? They've proven that they have enough money to pay for Clemson by themselves and the usual trend for walk ons is to never actually make it happen (sub Aaron Kelly and Tommy Sharpe).
- They have offered him a Graduate Assistant job in the athletic department, but no further chance to continue his football career.
- Ray Ray was a three star athlete coming out of high school and if I'm not mistaken he was moved to running back before he was injured. Why not move him to safety (a position we;re pretty thin at for the future) like we did with Chambers and cut that walk on player.
- Our community (that more than likely wants the kid to stick around and finish out his career) has invested too much time and effort in this situation for one person who represents and makes decisions for us as a whole to tell him to just hit the bricks.
-Now what? We're just going to shut the door on someone who has worked hard to pull himself up? We're going to make him and his little brother move their life somewhere else just because a few guys drawing on a whiteboard don't like how he fits in? If anything this guy should be rewarded. We have to think about Fahmarr as well. This much change and instability could be a terrible thing to go through after all he's already been through.
- Bowden's logic is backwards. If you're going to play the Bobby Role and give people more chances in life after mistakes, you don't fucking turn around and let the people that do well for themselves eat shit.
- Word is that Ray Ray started slacking off on the football side of things but I think I would to if I could see the picture that was being painted in front of me. Move me to another position or something.
- Even if this whole football thing didn't pan out for him, a graduate degree as well as a Sociology Undergraduate degree from Clemson would open so many doors for this guy that would normally be closed to this guy based on his background. I mean, this really reminds me of the whole Yusef Kelly ordeal (in which Bowden had disagreements with Kelly and wanted him gone but didn't have many reasons till the brawl, but by then it was too late. Also the fact that Kelly was a graduate student gets in my head too, among other similarities).
[ Side note: Much respect to James Davis who stuck up for Ray Ray in this whole situation. It could cost him some carries due to locker room politics, but that was yet another stand up gesture from our best running back. ]
Honestly, I have stirred emotions about this whole thing, but I don't like it. It's a very weaselish move on behalf of Bowden and it just solidifies the fact that Bowden has no idea who his troops are and could care less about their well being to boot. He's just putting on this academic graduation front for his own resume and will drop Clemson in a heart beat if he wins the ACC Championship this year (or hold us hostage for more money). He's not a Clemson guy, I don't like him, I want him out. Seriously, maybe it'd be best if he found some place else to go should he get some more offers.
Best of luck, boys.