The Fulmer Cup is a tongue-in-cheek award given each year in the United States to the Division I FBS college football program whose players collectively have the worst criminal record.
The Fulmer cup was conceived in 2006 by sports blogger Orson Swindle, a fan of football rival Florida, and named for then-University of Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer. While Fulmer was coach, the Tennessee team had over 20 players arrested for criminal activity in a 16 month period from 2004 through 2005.
This year, it looks like the University of Oregon may try to make a run at winning the cup!
Duck's linebacker Kiko Alonso was cited for DUI early Saturday morning after officers noticed Alonso was driving erratically, which prompted them to pull him over at a 7-Eleven Store on East Broadway in Eugene.
After pulling Alonso over, Eugene police cited him for DUII (driving under the influence of intoxicants), failure to maintain a lane, driving without insurance and minor in possession.
Alonso's citation came just about 24 hours after Oregon head coach Chip Kelly addressed the media regarding several team members’ recent appearances in the news for illegal activity.
It sounds like Kelly will be scheduling another media get together soon.
The football team has now seen four of its members run into legal trouble within the last month. Running back LaMichael James was arrested Tuesday on charges of domestic violence, while kicker Rob Beard was charged with assault for his role in a fight on Jan. 24.
Matt Simms, a walk-on defensive end, was also charged with assault on the weekend of Jan. 31. Simms has since been removed from the team.
On a little side note, head coach Chip Kelly announced Sunday that junior wide receiver Jamere Holland has been dismissed from the team for violating team rules. It appears that Holland was released from the team after posting racists remarks on his Facebook page.
At least he wasn't arrested. Just a little racism.
College football fans around the country are now seeing the surging Ducks from the University of Oregon rapidly closing the gap on the Florida Gators in the ever prestigious "Arrest Bowl" of college football.
But let's not be so quick to label the Ducks the as emerging contender's for the arrest crown. They have a long, long way to go in order to catch up with the Gators!
In the almost five years Urban Meyer has been the head coach at the University of Florida, the Gators have piled up 28 arrests to go along with the two national titles and the Heisman Award.
Yes, 28. That's an impressive average of about six per year.
Some of the Gators' arrests have been for charges of felony credit card theft, felony burglary and felony battery charges. You know, the big house type crimes–not that little county jail type DUI's, strangulation arrest or simple assaults cases like the Oregon players have produced.
Enough of my sarcasm.
Florida and Oregon aren't the only teams with players who have been arrested. We all know that. So who is to blame? Is it just a by-product of today's society? I sure hope not.
I think it deals with the evaluation of character during the recruiting process.
The coaches and yes, the fans too, get caught up in the "five-star and four-star" recruits—the studs of the high school football fields. We want big, mean, vicious and fast recruits. We don't even care what their grades are as long as they can crush the guy on the other side of the line.
They don't give extra "stars" to the good guys, do they?
I'm sure that coaches do look into the potential recruit’s background a bit. Obviously, they become aware of the family and the recruit's surroundings. But do they spend enough time looking into a high school player’s character?
I am one writer who doesn't think so.
Sure, there will be a few players on almost every team who make a poor decision and get caught for a DUI. That's going to happen. But felony burglary? Strangulation? Felony battery?
So who is to blame?
The head coach, first and foremost.
Yes, the fans want the big, fast, hard hitting athletes. But we don't like to see our players on the police blotters around the nation. Coaches can find the great athletes with character as well as physical ability. They are out there and there are lots of them.
When a coach gives the recruit a scholarship to play football for a college or university, he's handing over an average of $100,000 to that young man. The coach is also giving that athlete a real chance to succeed in life.
There are too many young people out there who really want and need a quality education for us to waste scholarships on miscreants.
A coach can find out about the character of a young man if he really wants to. I don't doubt that for a second.
Is winning so important to us all that we are willing to allow our head coaches to recruit the big, brutal and fast guys who end up causing more trouble than they are worth?
It's time for the recruiting services around the country to come up with a new "star system" that weighs character as much as ability.
Perhaps a change in the 'value system' in college football recruiting will finally bring an end to the Fulmer Cup Award.