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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Throw the book at arrested ‘Cats

Zach+Rosenbaltt+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AFootball+coach+Rich+Rodriguez+addresses+the+press+during+a+regular+spring+practice+on+Wednesday.
Zach Rosenbaltt / Arizona Daily Wildcat Football coach Rich Rodriguez addresses the press during a regular spring practice on Wednesday.

“Everything you do now is on your resume for life,” Rich Rodriguez, Arizona’s head football coach, said on March 1st in his first press conference of the spring.

Well, some team members really took that to heart.

Ironically enough, later that night, four Wildcats, two of which were expected to be starters this upcoming season, got into trouble with the law.

Rodriguez spent a lot of time at the press conference talking about how a player’s actions off the field are just as important as those on it, and how being a part of a top athletic program like the one at the UA magnifies their actions. It doesn’t take a magnifying glass to see how badly these players — offensive linemen Fabbians Ebbele and Eric Bender-Ramsey, cornerback Jourdon Grandon and defensive back Jared Tevis — messed up.

Before practice on Wednesday, Rodriguez was, as expected, non-committal about what would happen going forward. But, if the police report proves to be true, it’s plain to see what needs to be done.

Ebbele, Bender-Ramsey, Grandon and Tevis need to be kicked off the team, and maybe out of the school. Rodriguez was hired a little less than four months ago, and while it’s unfortunate that he is faced with the prospect of dismissing four players from his roster, he doesn’t have much of a choice. Rodriguez and Athletic Director Greg Byrne need to act now or risk losing control of the program.

Of the four, Ebbele and Grandon were arrested on charges of criminal trespassing and assault, and Tevis and Bender-Ramsey for trespassing. According to the police report, after arriving at a house party with too many people, the residents asked Tevis to leave for bringing uninvited football players. After a fight broke out, he left and promised to return with his “homies.”

According to the report, Tevis returned soon with a group of 10 to 30 people, with Ebbele, Grandon and defensive lineman Justin Washington, who was not charged in the incident, among them.

Ebbele forcibly entered the home and “began punching everybody he could reach,” according to the report. It also stated that Grandon punched multiple females in the face, close-fisted.

If any of this is true, the fact that they are prominent athletes is irrelevant. The crimes they allegedly committed that night are worthy of jail time.

Sure, everyone is entitled to due process, and the whole “innocent until proven guilty” mantra is always applicable. But, considering the emphasis Rodriguez has made to the players about keeping their off-field image clean and retaining a sense of maturity, the fact that these players even put themselves in this position is dismissal-worthy in itself.

Rodriguez has only been here four months, but he might already be faced with a career defining off-the-field decision.

At the press conference last week, Rodriguez said he planned on further emphasizing the importance of off-the-field behavior.

“All the hard work you put in, and one minute of a bad decision can ruin you for life,” he said. “You got to preach it to them every day and hope they are mature enough to make the right decisions.”

Of the four, Ebbele and Grandon, both sophomores, are the two whose loss would impact Arizona the most.

Ebbele, the 6-foot-8, 310 pound behemoth, started 11 games last year and received Sporting News Freshmen All-America honors. Grandon started four games at cornerback last year, recorded one interception and he was expected to garner a starting role this upcoming season.

Their poor decision may just have ruined any future they had in the sport. Their actions put a damper on the excitement brought forth by the start of the Rich Rodriguez era.

I’m a keen believer in second chances, and somewhere down the line these players might get that. It just shouldn’t be in Tucson.

­— Zack Rosenblatt is the assistant sports editor. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatSports .

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