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Posted: Monday June 23, 2008 1:19PM; Updated: Monday June 23, 2008 3:36PM
Andy Staples Andy Staples >

Oregon pulls written offer, an unsavory move that's common (cont.)

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In many cases, the school's offer letter clearly states that offers are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. The Oregon offer letter posted on the Web site of class of 2009 quarterback prospect Tate Forcier isn't that specific, but it does contain a disclaimer of sorts. "If this offer is not accepted by a date which is agreeable to us," the letter, which is signed by Bellotti, says, "the agreement may have to be altered." Ramos committed within 48 hours of receiving the letter, so he probably assumed that clause would not apply to him.

So why hasn't Bellotti or one of his coaches called Ramos to explain all of this personally? The lack of a call has further infuriated Therrien. "Xavier is more of a man than anybody on the Oregon staff," Therrien said. "When he makes a decision, he calls people." The reason for the silence? Oregon coaches aren't allowed to call Ramos. The NCAA rulebook allows one phone call to a player between April 15 and May 31 of his junior year. After that, coaches can't call again until Sept. 1. In this case, though, Oregon coaches might be better served breaking the rule and self-reporting the violation.

Therrien is talking to anyone who calls because he wants everyone to know that Ramos is available. So take note, college coaches. A smart, dependable safety/outside linebacker hybrid who led a state-championship defense in a talent-rich area needs a scholarship. But if he's going to commit to you, you'd better commit to him.

Therrien isn't only helping Ramos in this case. He's exposing the single biggest problem in the current system of offers and commitments -- that an offer really doesn't mean anything. And college coaches wonder why players have started to believe that their commitments don't mean anything, either.

Long road back for Maresh

Minnesota signee Sam Maresh is scheduled to have open-heart surgery Thursday at the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis to replace a faulty valve. Maresh, a linebacker from Champlin Park, Minn., was the local star whose commitment lent credibility to the rebuilding effort led by second-year Golden Gophers coach Tim Brewster.

The surgery likely isn't life-threatening, but Maresh's football future is unclear. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Maresh has elected to receive a tissue valve rather than the more durable mechanical valve because the tissue valve might allow him to return to football. The tissue valve probably would need to be replaced in 10-15 years.

Maresh hopes to return to football by 2010. No matter what, Brewster intends to keep Maresh in the program. Brewster wants Maresh to lead the Gophers into their new, on-campus stadium when it opens in 2009. "He's going to carry the flag into TCF Bank Stadium," Brewster told the Pioneer Press. "We know that for sure, whether he's playing or not."

Hawaii case update

The case of the football recruit who sued Hawaii over a yanked verbal scholarship offer still appears headed to trial. Wanda Smith, whose son, Daniel, sued in February after learning the offer he received wouldn't be honored, said a judge will rule July 9 on Hawaii's claim of sovereign immunity. If the judge rules that the school can be held liable, it would pave the way for a trial. The attorney for Hawaii's co-defendant, former Warriors assistant Jeff Reinebold, sent a letter to Smith's attorney on June 12 advising that if Smith loses the case, he could be held liable for Reinebold's attorney's fees. Smith claims that Reinebold offered a scholarship, and, after the defensive back accepted, told Smith that he shouldn't communicate with other schools. In recent years, Davidson and Northwestern have settled lawsuits brought by basketball recruits whose scholarship offers were revoked. In both of those cases, the players had written offers. Smith did not receive a written offer.

Blog is back

I've re-launched my blog, so feel free to check regularly for news, short takes on sports issues and the occasional completely off-topic post. The blog had a soft re-open last week with a column on a momentous event for SEC football fans and a literary critique of a fantastic essay authored by Georgia tailback/second-coming-of-Mark-Twain, Knowshon Moreno.

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