Monday, February 26, 2007

Ohio University and Frank Solich

I spoke too soon... while UNLV has a lot to be proud of... a little digging by a Local Ohio newspaper reveals a lot more of Dirt on the Ohio University Football program. The following are exerps from an article in "The Athens News".

Off-field troubles involving Ohio University football players during the past 13 months roughly parallel those of the 1998 and 1999 teams, court records show, but the checkered disciplinary record of head coach Frank Solich's players stretches back further than that.
Solich emphasized Wednesday that he's doing what he can to compel and promote good behavior among team members, and that good citizens compose the vast majority of his team.

An Athens NEWS review of past rosters and court records found that the OU team's legal difficulties spiked in 1998 and 1999 before falling and then increasing markedly under Solich.

The coach's former employer, the University of Nebraska football program, the review also found, provides a lesson in what OU surely hopes to avoid in terms of player conduct, despite many individual successes.

In the interview on Wednesday, Solich flatly declined to discuss disciplinary issues at Nebraska, saying he's now totally focused on building a strong program in Athens.

Solich's own drunken-driving conviction in November 2005 only served to trigger greater scrutiny of off-field incidents in Athens and foreshadowed the cluster of OU football players who have been arrested in the months since.

Solich has steadfastly denied culpability in his own case, saying he was drugged, but his attempt to withdraw his plea failed last August.

Already this year, local authorities have briefly jailed football players Kris Luchsinger, Ernie Hodge and Horace Hubbard -- all Solich recruits -- on charges that followed alleged violence uptown.

In Athens County Municipal Court, six team members last year were convicted of assault or disorderly conduct by fighting, and Luchsinger and Hodge have become the latest in a string of Bobcat footballers to get chased by local police.

At least 14 team members have been arrested since late January 2006 on original charges of assault, vandalism, DUI or for fleeing. That's 12.2 percent of the team, and does not include citations without arrests.

FBI and U.S. Census data show a 4.8 percent nationwide arrest rate in 2005, although the FBI does not break down the arrests by age, and arrests would almost certainly be higher in the college-age population.

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