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September 19, 2007
Time for Brown to draw the line at Texas?
According to Texas legend, Colonel William Travis once drew a line in the dirt at the Alamo and asked those present who wanted to stay and fight to cross it.
Perhaps it's time for Texas coach Mack Brown to draw a line at Royal-Memorial Stadium and ask those who cross it to stay out of trouble.
Eleven Texas players have been arrested since the Longhorns' national-championship victory over USC in January 2006. The latest to face charges is freshman reserve safety James Henry, who was arrested Monday night and charged with third degree felonies of obstruction or retaliation and tampering or fabricating physical evidence.
He's the sixth Texas player to face charges in the past four months and one of dozens of players who have been involved in troubling behavior across the country. Rivals.com has compiled an "All Suspended Team" of players who have been sidelined for at least one game this season because of off-field issues. The team was two-deep at every position except offensive line.
"All it takes is one guy to make a mistake," Florida coach Urban Meyer told the Orlando Sentinel, "and it hurts everybody."
A college football Web site – EveryDayShouldBeSaturday.com – annually anoints a team with the most offseason legal issues as the winner of its "Fulmer Cup." The cup is named for Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer because the Volunteers had almost a dozen football players arrested before the 2004 season.
This year, the Fulmer Cup went to Illinois. But perhaps the polls closed too soon.
Brown on Tuesday announced in a statement that Henry had been suspended from the team. He also defended his program.
"I am really proud of the Texas football program and all it has stood for during our 10 years in Austin," the statement said. "We've built a great program within the rules with a foundation of integrity, hard work, academic commitment and winning.
"We unfortunately had a number of student-athletes who have been accused of making poor decisions this past summer, with James' situation joining that group. Young people who do not obey the law, University or team rules will continue to be disciplined with a stern hand and we will move forward. We continue to have a zero tolerance policy in that regard.
"That said, I will put our long-term record of character up against anyone, and that's why these situations upset me so much."
Last week, backup safety Tyrell Gatewood was suspended indefinitely after being charged with misdemeanor drug possession; freshman defensive back Ben Wells, who was riding with Gatewood when he was pulled over, was given a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia and released. Freshman defensive tackle Andre Jones was suspended indefinitely after his arrest for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in August.
Brown has taken strong action in the past with players who have been arrested. Tailback Ramonce Taylor was dismissed from the team after being charged with felony possession of marijuana in May 2006. Safety Robert Joseph was dismissed in June after being arrested on misdemeanor car-burglary charges. Joseph had been arrested four times in a one-year period beginning in August 2005, his senior year in high school. Then, after Joseph was dismissed from the team, he was charged in the same incident as Jones.
* - South Carolina's Emanuel Cook was originally on this list, but he was reinstated to the team before missing a game
Olin Buchanan is the senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.