Tommy Bowden Wants Your Publicity, And Then He Wants You Gone

You might remember the touching story of Ray Ray McElrathbey, the Clemson reserve tailback who was receiving assistance from the NCAA after taking custody of his 11-year-old brother (their father is a gambling addict, the mother, into crack cocaine). Great story, makes Clemson sound like a happy place, Tommy Bowden a great guy, so on. So it was a surprise when McElrathbey said he was leaving the school. And now we know why: Bowden kicked him off.

Well, not so much "kicked him off" as "took his scholarship." Why? What did McElrathbey do to deserve this? He must have robbed a bank or something. Nope: Bowden just recruited too many running backs.

"He said something about how they weren't going to renew his scholarship," said [Clemson tailback James] Davis, who has known McElrathbey since their high school days in Atlanta. "It really surprised me. But there's a lot of stuff you can't say. It's something I guess everybody has to learn to live with."

"We're pretty good at running back right now," coach Tommy Bowden said.

The worst part is that Clemson, which basked in all the great publicity from McElrathbey last year, tried to keep this quiet or, worse, imply that it was McElrathbey's decision. (It was Davis who blew the whistle.) Quite charming.

The Truth Comes Out: Clemson Ran Ray Ray [The Wizard Of Odds]