Worst of 2008 #10: Off The Field Issues

Just as much as injuries were against the norm this year, off the field issues were also on a surprising uptick. Every program has these problems but in 2008, it seemed to be at an all time high for Colorado and once again, another excuse for the program not being able to progress this year. The rap list is long, but here it is...remember all of this is only in the calendar year of 2008!

In January, LB Nate Vaiomounga was charged with criminal mischief under $500 for allegedly breaking a window in a residence hall. Vaiomounga was kicked off the team last month after being involved with the theft of a purse on campus. 

Former FB/OL Kai Maiava was cited for underage possession and consumption of alcohol. Maiava has since transferred to UCLA to play for Slick Rick. We sure could have used Maiava this season on the offensive line, where he played as a true freshman before the coaches decided to convert him to a fullback. Maiava said that the position change, coupled with family issues were the reason he transferred. I wonder if the coaches have any regrets about that decision? I believe their is more to the story than what we know.

In March of this year, Riar Greer, probable starting tight end for the season, was accused of attacking two students at an off-campus party. His football season was in jeopardy while we awaited his arraignment on July 18th. Geer held out of offseason workouts but was able to resume playing. He missed the first two games because of injury before returning for West Virginia.

Also in early March, star recruit freshman LB Lynn Katoa was arrested on suspicion of second degree assault. He has since been suspended for the 2008 season and will red shirt due to being ineligible. Katoa was expected to see action in his freshman year especially after the loss of Jordan Dizon to the NFL. Katoa is still a question mark for 2009 as no one around the program seems extremely confident that he will see the field next year.

read more after the jump....

In April, potential starting LB Jake Duren was booted off the team for suspicion of first-degree criminal trespassing after being found bloody and smelling of alcohol in a hallway of the housing complex after smashing a car window.

In May, former DB Clyde Surrell, who was at the heart of the University of Colorado recruiting scandal in 2000, is once again reliving that past as a women is asking a judge to press charges against Surrell for an alleged rape in high school. During the 2000 season, Surrell was at the infamous party that began the CU scandal. Surrell was charged with providing alcohol to minors in 2001.

Michael Sipili, a LB who was suspended last year for the entire season as he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault after badly beating another student, was sued for injuries stemming from the same incident that led to the victim having long-term disfigurement and traumatic brain injuries. Christopher Perri, a former DL for the Buffs, was also sued for the same incident due to his role in instigating the ordeal.

Former Buffs QB Bernard Jackson and DB Lionel Harris were arrested in connection with armed robbery of a Boulder complex. Basically, they broke into an apartment, pulled a couple guns and demanded cash. Both should be going away for a long time after being booked with first degree burglary, aggravated robbery and felony menacing. According to police reports, Jackson and Harris may also be linked to several other incidents that have happened in the same area. Jackson was the often embattled quarterback in Hawkins first year as coach of the Buffs.

Also, sophomore WR Kendrick Celestine, who was expected to be a dynamic big play receiver, was fighting for his eligibility early in the spring as he needed to get a B in a summer course or else he would have been ineligible for the upcoming year. He made the grade but Celestine left the team in the middle of the year to go back home to Louisiana and attend to his newborn child. Celestine playedin his first two years as a Buff and was expected to be a 3rd or 4th option this year, especially with his explosive speed.

Devin Head, a starting offensive guard for Colorado this year, was also suspended  for the game against Eastern Washington for being with freshman OL Ethan Adkins during a DWI. Ethan Adkins, also suspended, was expected to be a reserve tackle and not a significant impact player this year.

Three other expected impact players were also ineligible for this year due to academic issues: WR Markques Simas, OG Eric Faatagi and OT Sione Tau. Perhaps the biggest player missing was the big and explosive WR Markques Simas. Simas, known for this famous quote, will be expected to bring big things next year to an offense that was lacking playmakers in 2008:
"I did it in high school, but I realize I can’t do it in high school. The teachers are real strict and they really don’t know you all too well like a high school teacher would. I thought I could give them a smile or whatever and get the grade, but then I realized it doesn’t work. You can’t charm your way through college."
As recent as a couple of weeks ago, Simas has said that he is taking classes much more serious this year. Dan Hawkins even mentioned during one of his press calls that Simas has been terrorizing the starting defense this year in practice. Sione Tau and Erick Faatagi probably would have seen time this year with all of the offensive line issues.

Part of being a successful program is being respected on and off the field and building a reputation for potential recruits, the University of Colorado administration or potential donors. More importantly for Hawkins, these issues cannot happen next year for his ability to show progress and keep the faithful happy. Another offseason like this past one and a losing 2009 campaign, the amount of supporters will be thin. Losing and making bad headlines won't be something that the administration will tolerate. Until Colorado players start acting professional, the program may not be first class either.

Status Depth Name Pos Description
Ineligible Backup Simas, Markques WR Would have played this year
Ineligible Backup Tau, Sione OT Backup but would have seen time
Ineligible/Kick Off Team Backup Vaiomounga, Nate OLB Special Teamer/Backup
Ineligible Backup Erick Faatagi OG Backup/Starter
Ineligible Red Shirt Katoa, Lynn ILB Legal & Academic Issues
Suspended Starter Geer, Riar TE On Campus Fight
Suspended Starter Head, Devin OG Suspended for WVU game/Starter
Suspended Backup Adkins, Ethan OT Suspended Indefinitely
Left Team Backup Celestine, Kendrick WR Family Issues/Playing Time Issues
Kicked Off Team Starter Duren, Jake LB First-degree criminal trespassing
Left Team Backup Maiava, Kai OG/FB Angry with Switching Positions

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