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Texas Longhorns players cleared after accepting meal from agent
The suspensions that seemed imminent will not be forthcoming.
Whatever happens with the ongoing Purge currently underway with the Texas Longhorns football team, the two players who accepted a meal from an agent will not be suspended when the season gets underway, the school announced Friday afternoon.
Though the school has not identified the players, a report from Orangebloods when the allegations surfaced said that the players in question were linebackers Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond.
The agent involved had also tweeted about having meals with senior defensive tackle Desmond Jackson and senior defensive end Cedric Reed, but those players are believed to have paid for their own meals or are otherwise not involved in the now-resolved situation. Reed confirmed as much personally at Big 12 Media Days, at least in regards to his own status.
Both players have been determined to be immediately eligible for competition by the NCAA, meaning that the NCAA looked at the three factors it considers -- value, awareness of the agent's status, and the player's involvement in obtaining the benefit -- and determined that the players had little culpability in the matter.
The typical punishment when a student-athlete receives a benefit of up to $100 from an agent is repayment and 10% withholding, which equates to a suspension of between one and two games.
It may be that the university self-reporting the violations helped make up the difference between the directives handed down to the reinstatement staff and the resolution of the matter without involving suspensions.
However the NCAA came to the ruling, it all amounts to the same thing -- all four players who were involved with the agent will be available when Texas hosts North Texas in late August.
Texas Longhorns may dismiss more players before exodus ends
So, uh, stay tuned and what not.
With five players gone from the Texas Longhorns football team in less than 24 hours and two more indefinitely suspended, the attrition perhaps hasn't quite yet ended for the Horns yet as new head coach Charlie Strong cleans house.
For one, the school hasn't yet released on official statement concerning the dismissals, apparently choosing to wait "until the dust settles."
And Chip Brown of Horns Digest is reporting that there are two more names that are under review and that a recent random drug test may have contributed to to dismissals.
Looking back at Big 12 Media Days, the words of Charlie Strong about breaking core values have taken on an ominous meaning.
"If you don't want to be a part of this football team, then break a core value, starter or no starter," said the Texas head coach.
Those core values are: 1) Honesty 2) Treat women with respect 3) No drugs 4) No stealing 5) No guns.
So perhaps a post-Media Days drug test was responsible for some of the dismissals.
The exact number of players still under review by Strong is a bit contentious at this point, however -- Max Olson of ESPN is reporting that the number could be as high as five.
One of the players who has been on the margin of the program for some time is junior wide receiver Daje Johnson. Strong had some positive comments at Big 12 Media Days regarding the team's most explosive player.
"He's done everything we've asked of him. So I haven't had any issues with him," said Strong.
Of course, Strong said that same thing about now-dismissed senior running back Joe Bergeron on the same day, so the situation for Johnson could have changed markedly over the last several days.
One of the heroes of the resounding Red River Rivalry victory last fall over Oklahoma, Johnson was academically ineligible for the Alamo Bowl against Oregon and was suspended for the Texas Tech game for a violation of team rules. He had previously been suspended for the 2012 season opener against New Mexico.
With two wide receivers likely gone from the team and two running backs gone, the multi-position versatility of Johnson has never been more important to the team.
Along with now-dismissed sophomore running back Jalen Overstreet, the other academic casualty from last fall was junior offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle, who doesn't have the added baggage of previous suspensions by former head coach Mack Brown and his staff.
Johnson and Estelle may or may not be among the five players who are still under view by the coaching staff and speculating about names at this time is a difficult endeavor, but suffice it to say that more attrition could be coming and there clearly aren't any players who are off limits to dismissal if they haven't abided by the core values that Strong preaches.