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Earlier this week, a female student at the University of Arkansas claimed that she was raped by three members of the basketball team. No charges were filed in the matter because there was not enough evidence to prove the girl was unaware of the sex act. (If you really want the sordid details read them here.)
The bigger issue now is the state of John Pelphrey's Arkansas program. Pelphrey has only been at the helm for two seasons, and they already have had a laundry list of problems:
Aug. 8 Patrick Beverley withheld for season. Beverley left the team and later admitted to academic fraud.
Oct. 24 Courtney Fortson, Jason Henry suspended.
Nov. 3 Courtney Fortson remains suspended.
Nov. 22 Jason Henry suspended.
Nov. 29 Montrell McDonald indefinitely suspended.
Dec. 17 Montrell McDonald quits the team after four-game suspension.
Jan. 24 Marcus Monk withheld from competition because of "eligibility" issue a month after joining the team. He never returns.
Feb. 1 Brandon Moore suspended following DUI arrest.
Feb. 12 Courtney Fortson suspended.
March 10 Jason Henry suspended.
May 6 Basketball program put on notice for 888 Academic Progress Rate. NCAA standard is 925.
June 1 Marcus Britt suspended follwing DUI arrest.
July 8 Jason Henry no longer part of basketball team. He is the fourth member of a six-person recruiting class to leave the program.
July 10 Stefan Welsh reportedly suspended indefinitely.
Sep. 9 Reports linking three UA basketball players, including two newcomers, to an alleged rape surface. No charges were filed.
The most recent allegation?
Courtney Fortson's failed attempt at humor. In a tweet, Fortson posted "Im gettin it at workouts like a dude who doesnt understand the word no from a drunk girl lol." Fortson could be facing his third suspension since he joined the Razorbacks.
Apparently, when your athletics program is dealing with allegations of rape against three of your teammates, they don't appreciate jokes involving sexual assault. Who'd-a-thunk it?
In all seriousness, Pelphrey's job may actually be in jeopardy. Here is a guy who won just two games in the SEC last season, and has seen his team deal with everything from academic fraud (Patrick Beverly said that papers were written for him and his teammates) to allegations of rape, with a couple DUI's and a smattering of suspensions thrown in.
What is going on in Fayetteville?
How long will the athletic department put up with this behavior before they blame the coach? And it sure doesn't help that Pelphrey isn't winning games.
The most frustrating part about it is that Arkansas has a chance to be pretty good this year. They bring back an excellent inside-outside combination in Fortson and 6'9" senior Michael Washington, a potential first rounder.
Both Rotnei Clarke and Stefan Walsh and above-average wings (all four of those returners started and averaged double figures last season), and Pelphrey has added a couple talented newcomers on the interior in freshman Marshawn Powell and JuCo transfer Delvon Johnson.
Remember, this Razorbacks team did beat both Oklahoma and Texas (when the 'Horns were still in the top 10) last season. If Pelphrey can get control of this team, they have enough talent to make a push for the SEC West crown.
But that's a really big IF.
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