Mississippi lineman Jerrell Powe raised some hackles this weekend when he was cited by police for a noise violation—then told the officer that he couldn't sign the citation because he doesn't know how to read.
I'm sure that Powe thought he was just being clever and he wouldn't be the first person to think he could outfox a police officer by "playing" dumb. (Once the cop informed him he was getting the citation whether he signed it or not, Powe complied with the order.) But this incident becomes a little more suspect when you consider that it took Powe two years to even be admitted to Ole Miss because of academic problems.
Powe signed with Ole Miss in February of 2005, but had to spend a year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia when the school denied him admission. Then after working to get his grades and test scores up, the NCAA still denied him eligibility twice and he filed a lawsuit. (That was later dropped and he enrolled in 2007.)
Oh, and there was this too: His mother was quoted in legal papers as saying, "Jerrell really is a good child, but he just can't read." That might have been what raised some concerns.
Anyway, Powe finally got join the Rebel football team last fall, but was briefly a poster child for everything that's wrong (or right) with college sports and the awesome "diploma mills" that seemingly only serve to make athletes eligible for games. Powe has been described in the media as "learning disabled" and he probably can write his own name, but the fact that a college football player being unable to read is not an implausible story probably tells us something. As does coach Houston Nutt's blustering denial:
Of course he can read, how do you think he's getting through college?" Nutt said. "Now he just needs to learn to keep his mouth shut."
Yeah, dude. Ixnay on the illiteracyay! (Do you think he reads Pig Latin?)