Put yourself in Marvin Austin’s shoes for a second. You’re a gifted defensive tackle (a position coveted by the NFL), and you returned to North Carolina for your senior season, even though you’re a potential first-round talent, saying you “love Carolina.” Commendable, no?
But now, you’re at the center of an NCAA investigation that surrounds your program, and your playing status for the senior season you were so excited to announce is now in doubt. Wouldn’t that chafe you a bit?
We know it would for us, and that’s why we can’t totally blame Austin for finally speaking up on the matter with an exasperated Facebook posting. (It’s hard to verify for 100% certain that it’s actually Austin’s Facebook, but the public portions – especially the photos – seem to indicate it’s legit. Plus, his since-discontinued Twitter also contained the nickname Anchorman, just like this Facebook page.)
Here’s the content of Austin’s mini-rant (screengrab of it below):
I came back to school to have my character questioned..wtf..i thought education was key.. I dont really understand…i though it was the right thing to do..maybe i was mistaken…i like to say thanx to all those who stand by me i really appriecate [sic] it. oh yea and to those who wanna see me fall i wont cause i dont great athletes stay on their feet!!!!!
What really hits home to us is the first thing he says: he did what so many get criticized for not doing by staying in school that extra year…and now he’s in the middle of a firestorm.
Regardless, it’s Austin’s job to know what does and doesn’t constitute proper contact with agents, and he should have known better than to reportedly get Alabama’s Marcell Dareus involved in the now-infamous agent party.
Even so, we can’t help but feel a little bad for Austin. The agent-related party that’s a focal point of this mess occurred in May. Acording to Austin’s official UNC bio (and his Facebook page), he was born on January 1, 1989, making it perfectly legal for him to be drinking at a party.
Again, when you’re a highly-regarded college athlete you’ve got to be extra careful about this sort of thing, but all that aside it’s got to be tough to turn down partying with Shaq, TI, Diddy, and Chris Brown, as Austin tweeted he did after the fact.
Plus, with an NCAA rules structure that can appear downright Byzantine to anyone who wasn’t drawing up the rules in the first place (and maybe even to them), it can be tough to know what is and isn’t acceptable. (Go to the bolded portion of text here to see what can get a college athlete ruled ineligible.)
We hope Marvin Austin returned to college for a reason greater than winning others’ praise, but we certainly can identify with him when he’s irked that the decision actually led to intense scrutiny and criticism. If he broke the rules, he has to pay the price – but the hit to his reputation is already a steep price to pay for what he undoubtedly envisioned as a wise move.
H/T The Big Lead