It's all basketball all the time at the moment, but there have been a few football developments over the last week or so that we wanted to touch on.
- Mo Plancher was given his sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. He used a redshirt season in 2005 after arriving on campus with a shoulder injury, and then was given a medical hardship redshirt for his 2006 season, when he tore his ACL after only four carries. It's obviously helpful to have another experienced back in the rotation, and since he had the most yards rushing last season (other than B.J. Daniels), odds are he will get the first chance at being the coveted feature back that hasn't existed in the USF offense since the days of Andre Hall.
Plancher sounded confident leading up to the NCAA's decision that he would be back, going so far as to tell The Oracle (USF's student newspaper) that team officials gave him a 95% chance of returning in 2010. That confidence may have also led to Mike Ford's departure, assuming that Ford did something that offered the coaches discretion on whether or not he could stay on the team.
- Joel Miller announced he is not filing a lawsuit stemming from his involvement in the Jim Leavitt saga. On the other side, Leavitt and lawyers on both sides have met at least once to try and reach a settlement on the $7.1 million, three-quarters of the money left on Leavitt's contract when he was fired, that he claims he is owed. (USF is saying that since they fired him with cause, he's only due $66,667, or two months' salary, not including bonuses, incentives, and other non-salary income.)
I bring this up because it seems less and less likely that this will ever end up getting sorted out in a courtroom. While it might be tempting to get to the bottom of this one, I don't think anyone has any motivation to let it go to trial. Everyone has too much to lose. Leavitt and USF have a lot of money at stake. Miller has his own reputation at stake, seeing as he's wobbled back and forth on his story a couple of times since the whole thing started back in December. The USF athletic department and even the administration would be in trouble if it was discovered that they pushed Leavitt out, took advantage of an opportunity, or (and this is a big-time conspiracy theory, which I don't subscribe to) helped the process along. Even McMurphy, the blind squirrel who finally found a nut, has something to lose. Whatever credibility he has left would be gone if a judge decided that the locker room incident didn't actually happen, or even if he ended up on the stand and things went badly. It would be the absolute end of his career.
Not to mention it would hurt Skip Holtz and the 2010 team, who would be stuck in the crossfire all year long, answering questions they don't have the answers to. We all may just need to move forward, even if it doesn't satisfy us.
- Marvin Kloss, who was going to walk on at USF as a kicker this fall, was arrested on grand theft charges and is accused on stealing more than $8,000 worth of stuff from someone's house during a party. I spent a good 10 minutes trying to think who would have less leeway on a football team than a third-string walk-on kicker if they were arrested, and I couldn't come up with one. Not a wise move. At least they didn't burn a scholarship on the guy.