The off-season didn't lack for freak performers and wild tales. In case you missed them ...
By Adam Duerson
1. Serious party foul, man.... Florida sophomore linebacker Taurean Charles was charged with aggravated battery in July for punching a student and then lobbing a 95-pound keg at another student's head at an off-campus party.
2. Only after he couldn't find a keg. Texas A&M freshman receiver Nick Rhodes was charged with assault for punching his roommate and hitting him over the head with a guitar. The roommate had asked for Rhodes's rent money.
3. "You're a cheerleader?!" his father cried upon finding out. Air Force cheerleader Jonathan Belkowitz was charged with distribution of steroids.
4. That's why SIOC has always said that Southern Illinois has the best fans in the nation. In June, Southern Illinois junior Mark Crummley caught Ken Griffey Jr.'s 500th home run ball and, without prompting, gave the souvenir back. In return Griffey gave him a trip for four to the All-Star Game.
5. Notably, they were last in acceptance of the gay community. (Really.) Notre Dame nearly ran the table in the sports-related categories of The Princeton Review's Best 357 Colleges. The Irish ranked first in "Students Pack the Stadiums" and "Everyone Plays IM Sports" and as the No. 4 jock school.
6. They also replaced the Joshua Tree CD in his disc player with the lesser Zooropa. A week after Wayne Simien's 1992 GMC Sierra was stolen, police recovered the Kansas hoops center's ride, sans chrome wheels. Peculiarly, his tires and car battery had been replaced with older, more worn versions.
7. "... and all I got you was this freakin' fruitcake." Maryland walk-on receiver Greg Powell was found not guilty of assaulting a police officer and disorderly conduct. Said Judge R. Patrick Hayman, "Son, you are about to get an early Christmas present, because I know what effect a probation would have. And it is a gift, because you are guilty as sin."
8. The cops immediately recognized the victim's Crazy in Love ring tone. In August, Iowa State defensive end Jason Berryman was charged with second-degree robbery. Police say he robbed two men of $4 and a cellphone. While questioning Berryman, police dialed the victim's number and found it ringing in the player's pocket.
9. That's exactly what she says every time Maxim puts Tara Reid on the cover. "It has that element of drunken ingenuity that our readers like," senior editor Laura Gilbert said of the "Fat Darrell", a Rutgers-born überhogie that was named America's "tastiest sandwich" by Maxim. The delicacy consists of chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, fries and marinara on a roll.
10. Next week on Cribs.... Amenities at Georgia Tech's renovated Campus Recreation Center include a 184-foot long water slide, a diving well and personal TVs on treadmills and StairMasters. Cost: $44 million.
11. Dude, where's my golf cart? Illinois athletics had a serious scare when star point guard Dee Brown and quarterback Jon Beutjer crashed -- in a golf cart. Both received stitches for minor injuries sustained when the vehicle, driven by a third party, hit a tree stump at a sports camp where they were working.
12. He holds his liquor almost as well as Bob Huggins. In August, two months after Cincinnati men's coach Bob (Huggy Bear) Huggins was convicted of drunken driving, a black bear at Washington's Baker Lake Resort raided a camper's cooler and, using his claws and teeth, shotgunned 36 cans of Busch and Rainier before passing out.
Issue date: September 9, 2004