University of Tennessee football coach Phil Fulmer has announced a change in the program's recruiting policies, effectively ending the longstanding practice of recruiting players from prisons.
Fulmer immediately suspended the "From the Big House to the Vols' House" program in the wake of the latest negative statistic from the Tennessee football squad: 11 players have been in some legal trouble, either arrested or issued citations, since February of last year.
Fulmer, who was set to leave next week on a recruiting trip to New York's Sing Sing State Prison, will instead visit a community college in Ohio.
"You know, I'm a big believer in giving kids a second chance," Fulmer said. "And if they can block, tackle, run or throw, I'm a big believer in third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh chances."
"Fulmer has this way of walking into a correctional facility and sizing up a young man's ability to contribute to the squad back in Knoxville," says a national sportswriter who covers the Southeastern Conference. "I was with him once at San Quentin in California when he brought back a letter of intent from a real blue-chipper."
"Some of the best players we've had we brought here from prisons," Fulmer says with a hint of nostalgia in his voice. "You can really learn a lot about a person by talking to his warden. Those trips to prisons to give young men a chance to attend school and improve their lives were special. Minimum security, maximum security, state, federalwe went to 'em all."
Some Vols fans worry that cutting down on the number of ex-cons on the team may improve behavior off the field in exchange for wins on the field.
"Some of these guys are real roughnecks, but they're our roughnecks," one caller said on a Knoxville sports call-in show last week. "And when you're going up against Spurrier, you need a guy who knows how to bury a shiv."
(The Fabricator is satire. Don't believe everything you read.)
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