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Friday, July 5, 2013

Tait

Opinion: Wide receiver Nick Harwell still coming to KU whether his former school cooperates or not

Former Miami of Ohio receiver Nick Harwell (8) shakes off the tackle of Middle Tennessee defender Rod Issac (6) in the first quarter of the GoDaddy.Com Bowl NCAA college football game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

Former Miami of Ohio receiver Nick Harwell (8) shakes off the tackle of Middle Tennessee defender Rod Issac (6) in the first quarter of the GoDaddy.Com Bowl NCAA college football game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

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It’s not just about wins and losses, football coaches and university presidents across the country shout from the highest mountains. It's about sending student-athletes into the world with college degrees first and football second.

And then there is the case of wide receiver Nick Harwell, who had a terrific record on the football field during his time at Miami (Ohio) University and a police record off of it. Harwell, who announced his intention to transfer to Kansas University in late May, wants nothing more than to take the necessary summer school classes to earn his degree so he can transfer to KU and become eligible to play another year of college football this coming fall. Thus far, Miami has blocked his path to doing so.

But according to numerous people close to the situation, Harwell is coming to Lawrence in August no matter what. Whether he's eligible to play when he arrives is completely up to the decision makers at Miami, who suspended him for a semester this spring after an arrest that led to Harwell entering a guilty plea on a second-degree misdemeanor charge of attempted theft after he reclaimed possession of his cap and gown from his girlfriend's car.

There is no question about whether Harwell is at fault in this incident or any of his previous arrests during his time at Miami.

The question is, why, with Harwell sitting just a couple of classes away from graduating and cleared in the eyes of the law, would Miami want to stand in the way of him moving on with his career, a path that one day figures to lead him to the NFL?

Don Jackson, a veteran attorney based in Montgomery, Ala., who has 23 years of experience fighting NCAA eligibility cases, is representing Harwell’s interests. He said the only thing that made sense was that the powers that be at Miami were attempting to force Harwell to remain at Miami. He also said that's not going to happen.

“He's not going back to Miami under any circumstances,” Jackson said. “He'll be at the University of Kansas whether that means he's playing this year or sitting this year and playing next year. But we're optimistic and hopeful that he'll be playing this year.”

In order for that to happen, Harwell needs to complete a couple of courses that would allow him to graduate from Miami and transfer to KU via the same senior-transfer rule that brought Dayne Crist from Notre Dame and sent cornerback Tyler Patmon from KU to Oklahoma State. According to sources, Harwell is about a week shy of completing one such course online. The others, which also could be taken online, must be under way by July 15, the start date of Miami's final summer session.

According to the criteria for graduation from Miami, the classes must be taken through Miami. Furthermore, Harwell cannot take those classes as an active member of the KU program if he wants to be eligible for 2013. In short, the longer Harwell stays away the better his chances of playing for KU this season.

Miami's final summer session ends Aug. 10 and KU opens fall camp on Aug. 7. But one source said that even if Harwell were to arrive as late as the end of August, his talent, experience and familiarity with KU coach Charlie Weis' system — Harwell was recruited to Miami by former Weis assistant Mike Haywood — would make him a likely candidate to play in KU's opener Sept. 7 provided he reports in game shape.

The bottom line here is this: Since the time of the arrest both Harwell and KU have done everything in their power to pave the way for the nation's second-leading receiver to continue his college career at Kansas under Weis. Miami, however, seems to have played the role of the scorned ex-lover. Given the toll that losing Harwell would take on Miami's APR score along with the potential negative image portrayed to other current and future Miami student-athletes, it seems Miami would be best served to accommodate Harwell here and wish him well in the future. How can the school claim it puts athletes earning degrees before winning football games if Harwell’s path to a degree is blocked over spite? Efforts this week to reach a Miami spokesperson for comments on Harwell's status and future were not returned.

There is no question that adding the 6-foot-1, 193-pound Harwell to Weis' offense would be a major lift for a KU program in the middle of rebuilding. Harwell leaves Miami as the second leading receiver in school history in career receptions (229) and yards (3,166), and third in receiving touchdowns (23). But this goes beyond football.

Other than the nature of the charges levied against him, this case seems similar to the situation KU faced in early 2012 with former quarterback Brock Berglund. In that instance, KU wound up granting Berglund his release before the end of January and he later transferred. Miami is choosing to stand in Harwell's way. And for what? To get the last laugh? To prove who's in charge?

School and athletic department officials may not be holding onto any hope that Harwell ever will play another down for the RedHawks, but they are holding him hostage when common sense suggests they should go the other route.

“I can't imagine why they've taken this long, to be perfectly honest,” said Jackson, noting that the time frame of a resolution remains up in the air. “Instead of letting this young man take the classes he needs to graduate and then move on with his life, they have chosen to drag it out and drag it out to a point where it's too late for this young man to take the classes he needs to graduate.”

We're not there yet. And if common sense prevails, we'll never reach that point. Instead, Harwell will be able to slip on his No. 88 jersey and make plays that send fans at Memorial Stadium into a frenzy. In addition, Harwell, who hasn’t always made decisions in which he and his family can take pride, can put a big smile on the face of all those who care about him by framing his college diploma and hanging it on his wall.

Comments

MiamiU 9 months, 2 weeks ago

In case anybody missed this reply...

C...Just to make sure you folks hear the entire story...He was kicked off the football team and expelled from the University. An expelled student can not take classes again there. Kansas and every other school would do the same. There are no special rules for expelled student-athletes.

Miami bent over backwards for Nick to keep him in line. Nick had other ideas.

He's a great football talent but also lacks discipline off the field. FIVE arrests not to mention the "non-arrests."

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Joan Kalivoda 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I am through with this site. Good Bye.

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oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 3 weeks ago

So, what does it take to recruit the best players in the US?

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JHWKDW 9 months, 3 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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havecents 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Perkins was the problem, not Gill. Outsiders saw it before KU fans. Gill was in over his head and true football fans could see that when the hire was made. Weiss is trying, but I don't think he has a long term plan. His approach seems to be to play the lottery instead of investing in the future. He has taken a major gamble on recruiting strategies, and I don't necessarily blame him. He could look like a genius, which will get him attention and offers, or it could backfire and the natives will start grumbling. IMO, he has set himself up for feast or famon. I just don't understand how Perkins never gets the blame. He ran a circus.

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Leo Hawkins 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Why would we dissolve the football program? College Football programs in the BIG 12 level do not dissolve the program. That's just idiotic.

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JHawksfan23 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Okay, here's where I'm at, I am a die-hard KU fan who will stand behind any KU team win or lose. I'm not sure why some self-proclaimed KU "fans" are saying we should dissolve KU football. I don't know about you guys, but Saturdays on the Hill are a tradition I would hate to lose. Memorial Stadium, at the foot of Campanille Hill is a heck of an atmosphere, and though I hate losing, I have a blast at KU football games. HCCW is changing the culture of KU football while Dr. Zenger is changing the culture of the whole athletics department. Yes, we currently are a basketball school, but let's give the other sports some time to improve before we beg to dissolve the money making sport that is ultimately the deciding factor in conference realignment...c'mon people be sensible!

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John Fitzgerald 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I was a bit confused at first before reading the article, then realized I had to answer a few questions before reading the full article. Yea, it's a pain, but at least it doesn't require a credit card, for example; jayhawk slant, espn.com. Sometimes I wonder why people over analyze things and go completely nuts over a few clicks. Since you had to answer a few questions you want to abolish the kusports site and forever disregard its existence? Grow up people! In the battle of humans and technology, technology will always win. Either accept it or .... Terminator 5.

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David Leathers 9 months, 3 weeks ago

A couple random thoughts before the night is over:

1) The only thing more annoying than the Google surveys are the people complaining about them.

2) Harwell is a great addition to the team... He is no Chris Martin.

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Brandon Mahon 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Weis is just taking risk. Sometimes it takes a few risk to get to where we want to go. We have had one player get in real big trouble. This harwell situation is just a risk, and if Miami will let him leave we will reap the benefits and you will see it. You have to remember this are college kids, they are going to get in a little trouble.

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BringBackMark 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow, I was going to say it but I usually get hammered when I question these fifth year senior transfers. Why waste a scholarship. You're absolutely right, baggage for one years eligibility? When this transfer story first broke it was almost assured that he'd graduated and would be immediately eligible. Now he's got a bunch of online classes to take to graduate..... Let's build a program on solid kids that can be developed. For two years now Weis has thrown away scholarships trying the "quick fix". I say if we win less than 6 this year its time for Zenger to step in and change the direction of recruiting. We're going to be in shambles by the time Weis decides to move on to his next gig.

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oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Miami can keep him! Is Weiss so desperate that he has to recruit those with police records?

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SacramentoJHAWK 9 months, 3 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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JHWKDW 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Isn't there anyone else as talented out there we can get without the baggage,and questionable behavior to come here for 1 year for all the B.S.he could bring, I mean come on.I would rather have a young kid we can develop,who is not a troublemaker, in addition you want to take a chance HCCW on getting another possible Martin like player.I like you and all HCCW, but you know the saying fool me once shame on them fool me twice....... you know the rest.

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JHWKDW 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Isn't there anyone else as talented out there we can get without the baggage,and questionable behavior to come here for 1 year for all the B.S.he could bring, I mean come on.I would rather have a young kid we can develop,who is not a troublemaker, in additon you want to take a chance HCCW on getting another possible Martin like player.I like you and all HCCW, but you know the saying fool me once shame on them fool me twice....... you know the rest.

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Hammertoe 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Mizzou has a $200 million plan for athletic upgrades. K-State is spending $75 Million to upgrade their football stadium...... -State won Big 12 Championships in Football (ku never), Baseball (ku never) and Basketball on smaller budgets than ku. The jayhawks need to get on board to forever be known as just a Basketball School.

http://www.kansascity.com/2013/07/05/4331406/renovations-to-mizzou-athletic.html
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Jim Baker 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Irony: reclaiming your cap and gown from your girlfriend's car, which leads to your arrest, which leads to the school you intended to graduate from blocking you from ever officially using said reclaimed cap and gown.

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Chris Shaw 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The only thing that ticks me off at this article is the power of these athletic departments and universities. To me, Brock Berglund made his mistakes, but I think Charlie Weis and the Kansas athletic department were wrong for preventing him to transfer when he wanted. I thought that situation was poorly handled.

I don't really care what this kid did at Miami (OH), if the kid wants to transfer that is his choice and his right. I also find it comical that universities will block a kid from transferring to certain schools. You see it all the time where a kid transfers, but the university will have a list of 4 to 10 schools where that student-athlete can't transfer to. It's beyond moronic IMO.

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Steve Brown 9 months, 3 weeks ago

the google questions are intrusive .. .. I think Snowden is a traitor but if LJW wants our profile preferences to make better advertisements on the page better go to the NSA they have the data already. I am not going to tell you if I shop at Nordstrom's or have children left at home so I only get to read the first few lines then move to the posters.

1984 came and went and no one noticed. I am not answering questions.

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Danny Hernandez 9 months, 3 weeks ago

poet008, what a waste of space this poster took up...

Thanks Matt for your comments on the realignment which isn't news any longer..

On to a better fight...removing the nitwits that post here

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Gregor Southard 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It's a great day to be a Kansas University Jayhawk!

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Greg Ledom 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Matt, thanks for all your updates on Big12 realignment when it was relevant. Furthermore, thanks for not reporting on it when it's not. Lastly, I'm sure you have better things to do than respond to @poet008 jibberish. Reality of KU football.........dissolve KU football. Seriously. Troll somewhere else.

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HotToddy69 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I wonder if Poet008 is still worried about Y2K?

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hbjayhawk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Matt:

For what it's worth, you have done the BEST and most fair reporting of KU football in recent recent memory and possibly ever. Keep up the great work!

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James Naismith 9 months, 3 weeks ago

“He'll be at the University of Kansas whether that means he's playing this year or sitting this year and playing next year. But we're optimistic and hopeful that he'll be playing this year.”

Surely he means Kansas University.

I really hate that the LJW continues this mission.

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jaydee909 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Miami is not making potential recruits to their football program feel real cozy and comfortable right now. Harwell has made some decisions in his personal life that have not been the best but let him get his degree and move on. I am hoping that Miami is just playing hard ball and will allow Harwell to take the online classes before the deadline passes.

BTW, really solid article, Matt!

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namohcan_99 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Great article Matt! Well said.

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hawktalker5 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I read just today that he also mite put himself in the supplemental draft. Any thoughts on the article rather than worrying about conference realignment again and again?

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poet008 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Matt,

When will you do an article based upon the reality of KU football? That is - what happens when the Big XII falls apart after OU decides it wants to leave again?

Should KU dissolve football and join the new Big East to boost men's basketball, or should it join the Mountain West to keep football but greatly diminish men's basketball?

Why do you not talk about the reality of the inherent instability of the Big XII and what KU should be doing to make preparations?

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Sparko 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Okay, Google was supposed to randomly select a couple of articles. It is on every article and is making this newspaper a slave to pop-ups. The LJW reads like a malware-infested hijack site right now. This was a huge mistake and it is costing you readers.

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Boouk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Harwell had over 200 receiving yards in their game at Ohio State last year. He'd be KU's best WR since the Mangino days by far.

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