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News Nuggets, 10.14.04
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Thompson: Pinkney's redshirt year safe and secure


10.13.04: JV Pirates live up to varsity's example ... Toronto approves bid to host bowl game ... More...
10.12.04: Herrion anoints Badiane, Cook as team's leaders ... No. 1 Southern Miss QB to miss 'Bama game ... Tar Heel trio sacked by pot charges ... More...
10.11.04: College football weekend: stars & storylines ... C-USA standings, scoreboard, schedule & TV ... Associated Press football poll ... More...
10.10.04: Army sheds losing ways at Bearcats' expense ... Conference USA & Carolinas football scoreboard ... More...
10.09.04: Future looks lonely for Temple Owls football ... Coug legend Drexler enshrined in hoops Hall ... More...
10.08.04: Golden Eagles claw out overtime win over Houston
— ESPN2 HD to debut with C-USA doubleheader ... More...
10.07.04: Southern Miss road warriors back home for primetime ... Louisville building $10 million baseball stadium ... More...
10.06.04: Reported dispute with coach nets suspension for ECU's Fox ... Holtz sanctions receiver over academic issues ... More...
10.05.04: Billikens' 15-game TV package includes visit to Minges
— Loss yanks West Virginia back down to earth ... More...
10.04.04: College football weekend: stars & storylines ... C-USA standings, scoreboard, schedule & TV ... AP college football poll ... More...
10.03.04: Gamecocks spring surprise in Tuscaloosa ... Pioneer Hayden Fry to receive Stagg award ... More...
10.02.04: Memphis hopes to shed first half doldrums against Houston ... Joy of winning may be short-lived for SMU ... More...
10.01.04: Punishing regimen hardens Louisville's defense ... Gamecocks' "Pops" goes late night ... Ross's challenge at Army proves to be a daunting one ... More...
09.30.04: Deja Vu ECU? Florida A&M prez fired amidst turmoil ... Marshall hangs on to break into win column ... Pessimism wanes at SMU after long skid ends ... More...
09.29.04: Herd trying to head off worst start in decades ... C-USA standings, scoreboard, schedule & TV ... AP college football poll ... More...
09.28.04: Bearcat sack artist honored for disrupting Pirates ... C-USA teams pepper preseason hoops poll ... More...

East Carolina football coach John Thompson said Wednesday night that questions raised about the possibility that the Pirates may have sacrificed freshman quarterback Patrick Pinkney's redshirt year by playing the former Fayetteville Pine Forest star in a junior varsity game had no credence.

Thompson comments were made by phone on "The Bonesville Power Hour" radio and TV show. [REPLAY AUDIO ARCHIVE]

Pinkney, the son of former ECU star Reggie Pinkney, completed 10 of 22 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the JV Pirates' 19-7 victory over Hargrave Military Academy on Tuesday.

The elder Pinkney, currently an educational administrator in Fayetteville, was an All-American defensive back at East Carolina in the 1970's during the tenure of former Pirate coach Pat Dye. staff writers Denny O'Brien and Al Myatt reported on the questions surrounding Patrick Pinkney's redshirt status on Wednesday night's "Bonesville Power Hour," which is simulcast each Wednesday night on WNCT-AM Talk 1070 and Cable 7 TV.

O'Brien reported that ECU Media Relations Director Tom McClellan, after consulting with ECU compliance director Rosy Thompson, had acknowledged that Patrick Pinkney's redshirt year appeared to have been forfeited by Pinkney's participation in the JV game. However, said O'Brien, McClellan noted that Thompson may have plans in place to have Pinkney's redshirt year restored by applying to the NCAA for a medical hardship.

Pinkney suffered a shoulder injury in high school but had so far deferred corrective surgery. writer and WNCT-TV 9 sports director Brian Bailey reported in his Wednesday column on that Pinkney will undergo surgery on his throwing shoulder related to the high school injury later this week.

Thompson confirmed in the phone call to the show that Pinkney would have the surgery Friday and that the assurance of Pinkney being able to maintain his redshirt year had been "cleared before, during and after" the decision to play him in Tuesday's JV game.

The 2004 NCAA Convention Legislative Summary and Application Guide stipulates that "a student-athlete may apply for a hardship waiver after suffering an injury in the first half of the season." The clause also states that it is mandatory that the athlete's "participation occurred while the student-athlete was representing an NCAA institution."

A more lenient twist on the rule appears on the Rutgers Compliance Office's official web page, which states that "the student-athlete’s injury or illness must occur in one of the four seasons of intercollegiate competition or subsequent to the first day of classes in the student-athlete’s senior year in high school." This more expansive explanation of the standard — indicating that an injury suffered after the beginning of the player's senior year in high school can be considered — could explain Thompson's confidence in gaining the medical hardship waiver for Pinkney.

Neither the NCAA's nor Rutgers' cited accounts of the rule indicated whether or not participation in a game after the related injury was incurred would void the possibility of a hardship waiver.

Thompson did not indicate in his phone call to the show whether the surgery was related to Pinkney's high school injury or an injury incurred by the highly-regarded QB during his participation as a member of the ECU football team.

Schnellenberger ringside for U of L vs. Miami

MIAMI — The spectator with the brusque baritone, push-broom mustache and divided loyalties at Thursday night's game between the Miami Hurricanes and Louisville Cardinals will be Howard Schnellenberger.

``I feel like I'm going to a heavyweight championship fight in which both contestants are my children,'' the old coach said.

Schnellenberger led the Hurricanes to the first of their five national titles in 1983, then coached the Cardinals to their only major bowl berth in 1990. He'll take a night off from building his ascendant program at Florida Atlantic to see whether No. 18 Louisville (4-0) can stay in the ring with No. 3 Miami (4-0).

The Cardinals have won this season by an average score of 43-7, but their opponents are a combined 6-15. They acknowledge that the Hurricanes represent a step up in class — and not just this season.

``It's the biggest game we're ever going to play,'' Louisville quarterback Stefan LeFors said. ``A win would be huge. It would mean more recognition and that much more confidence for the team, knowing we can play with a big-time program like Miami.''

Schnellenberger and others say the Hurricanes have a shot at another national title — if they can get more consistent play from their quarterback. The defense has allowed only one touchdown, and Frank Gore and Tyrone Moss provide a potent 1-2 punch at running back, but Brock Berlin's erratic passing makes Miami susceptible to an upset.

Still, prime time in the Orange Bowl tends to bring out the best in the Hurricanes, who have won seven games in a row on Thursday nights.

``You just try not to be scared and believe we can win,'' LeFors said. ``I think that's where a lot of teams go wrong — they have a little doubt in their mind that they can win. Everybody on this team believes we can win.''

With 12 days to prepare, the Hurricanes should be well-rested and well-prepared for Louisville's upset bid.

``When you're a top-five team and the other team's up and coming, trying to take your spot, trying to get to where you are, obviously it's a big deal for them,'' Miami center Joel Rodriguez said. ``It's a big deal for us too, because if we slip up, our chances of a championship season are pretty much shot.''

The Cardinals might have enough offensive balance and depth to move the ball. They're averaging 258 yards per game passing and 246 rushing. LeFors will share playing time with highly touted freshman Brian Brohm, who has completed 76 percent of his passes in spot duty.

Perhaps Louisville's most impressive statistic is 18 rushing touchdowns, including eight by Eric Shelton.

``One of the reasons we've designed our offense and the running game we did is because when you do make a challenge to be ranked in the top teams in the country and eventually win a national championship, you have to be able to run the ball,'' Cardinals second-year coach Bobby Petrino said. ``Now we'll find out if we can run it against guys like this.''

Upsetting a perennial national championship contender would hardly be unprecedented for the Cardinals: Just two years ago they beat No. 2 Florida State. But Miami figures to be better than those Seminoles, who went on to lose five games that season.

Brohm has a unique perspective on the challenge and opportunity the Hurricanes represent, because his brothers and father played at Louisville.

``If we win this game, it will probably be the biggest win in the history of this program,'' Brohm said. ``If we can win this and win out, then we have a great shot at a BCS bowl. That would be the biggest thing this program has seen.''

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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