Morris: There’s always off-the-field action in SEC

July 16, 2014 

— This is how the SEC football offseason has gone, so far:

• Feb. 14 – Vanderbilt defensive line coach Vavae Tata was charged with drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident, three weeks after being hired by new coach Derek Mason.

Tata, a defensive assistant at Stanford the previous two seasons, pled guilty to the charges and lost his job as a position coach. He now is Vanderbilt’s assistant for player development.

• Feb. 18 – Mississippi linebacker Danzel Nkemdiche and his brother, defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, were sued after allegedly beating a man at a fraternity party.

Matthew Baird said that Denzel Nkemdiche punched him from behind and knocked him unconscious. The complaint said Robert Nkemdiche and five others then kicked and stomped Baird.

Mississippi athletics director Ross Bjork said in a statement “the proper authorities investigated the matter and could find no evidence of wrong-doing.”

Denzel Nkemdiche had been suspended from the team indefinitely the previous weekend after being arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.

The brothers remain on the Mississippi roster.

• Feb. 18 – Georgia strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemons was dismissed from the team following multiple violations of team rules, according to coach Mark Richt.

Harvey-Clemons, who had 66 tackles, one interception and three fumble recoveries in 2013 as a sophomore, later transferred to Louisville.

• March 18 – Four Georgia players were arrested and charged with multiple counts of theft by deception and bonded out of the Clarke County (Ga.) Jail.

Safety Tray Matthews, wide receiver Uriah LeMay and defensive linemen Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach were charged by University of Georgia Police with drawing 11 student tuition checks from the Georgia Athletic Association account and twice presenting them for deposit.

The players were “double-dipping” by receiving funds twice, according to University of Georgia police chief Jimmy Williamson.

Matthews later was dismissed from the team and LeMay transferred.

• June 3 – Starting linebacker Darian Claiborne and starting defensive tackle Isaiah Golden were dismissed from the Texas A&M team after being arrested and charged with aggravated robbery.

According to College Station, Texas police, the pair was accused of robbing three male victims at gunpoint after the three men agreed to purchase marijuana from Claiborne and Golden.

• June 11 – Starting safety Jalen Mills was suspended indefinitely from the LSU team after he was arrested on a second-degree battery charge for allegedly punching a woman in the mouth.

The attorney for Mills said his client did not punch the woman, and he is hopeful that the charges will be dropped or lessened to a misdemeanor.

• June 28 – Two days after speaking at a Drug Abuse Resistance Awareness event, Auburn starting cornerback Jonathon Mincy was arrested and charged with second-degree marijuana possession.

“It was a routine stop on 431 near Great Southern Wood in Abbeville of a car doing 92 in a 65,” Henry County sheriff William Maddox told The Dothan (Ala.) Eagle. “The officer went to the car and smelled marijuana. There were two males and two females in the car and one of the males had shake all over his shirt sitting in the car in the back and there was a bag of marijuana near him. That person happened to be Jonathon Mincy of the Auburn football team.”

• July 5 – Alabama junior running back Kenyan Drake was arrested in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and charged with a misdemeanor count of obstructing governmental operations.

Drake’s vehicle was parked inside a crime scene and he ignored orders to stay outside the scene, Tuscaloosa police spokesman Brent Blankley told AL.com.

“He was trying to cross a crime scene,” Blankley said. “We had a shooting, and his vehicle was parked inside the crime scene. We told him that he could not get his vehicle and he tried to cross the crime scene anyway so he could get his vehicle.”

• • • 

Those reports do not include the numerous other drug and alcohol related arrests around the league. Nor do they include the summer trial of former Georgia coach Jim Donnan, who was found not guilty on all 41 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering and conspiracy that the government had brought against him in connection with an alleged investment scheme, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Whew! And we still have six weeks until the start of the college football season.

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