Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Clark's story

I was contacted from someone close to former Maryland recruit Shane Clark recently and they paint a very different story about what lead to his departure from College Park. They claim that Maryland assistant Dave Dickerson was contacted repeatedly about the need to complete form 48H and that the officials at Cardinal Dougherty were ready and eager to send along whatever information was needed to complete the application. Form 48H establishes the legitimacy of the classes that a student completed and requires course materials be submitted for approval.

I'm inclined to believe that Dickerson failed to do this in a timely fashion. Given the immense pressure that the staff endured last season with the Gilchrist drama and an inconsistent squad it is understandable that there were many distractions. There isn't any excuse for this kind of mistake, however. It makes the whole program look bad and a kid who put his trust in the school suffers badly as a result. Clark went to Hargrave in the hopes that the structure there would help him with his academics and he did get eligible in the end. He held up his end. Hopefully with the new crew of assistants this kind of thing won't happen again.

This person also confirmed that the ongoing feud between AD Debbie Yow and Gary Williams played a role in this as well. It would be a travesty if Shane Clark was punished in an attempt to undermine the prominent position of the basketball coach. I've never been a supporter of Yow. Her administration skills are mediocre and she's made more than a few bad hires in her time here. I think the high profile of Gary Williams has always rubbed her the wrong way. If this grudge resulted in Clark being forced out unnecessarily then she needs to go.

Maryland did try to fix the problems with Clark's eligibility but by that time it was too late. Clark had felt the bond of trust had been broken with Maryland and has no interest remaining in College Park or going to another prep school. I really can't blame him for feeling that way, though I think everyone would be been better off if he had been able to forgive Maryland's mistake.

I wish Shane Clark success in whatever he does in the future, on the court and off. I would have loved to see him come to Maryland.

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