It has been an absolute embarrassment for the NCAA that University of Mississippi defensive lineman Jerrell Powe has even been allowed to play college football. This week that embarrassment reached the level of travesty.
Powe is the guy who originally signed a letter of intent to play college football with the Rebels in 2005, but was denied admittance to the school by college football’s governing body, the NCAA, after it was revealed he is ILLITERATE. The NCAA takes enough grief over its ridiculously hypocritical positions on “student athletes” without having to admit someone into college who can’t read and write.
Powe and his lawyers sued the NCAA claiming the burly lineman suffered from a variety of learning disabilities and demanded his immediate enrollment in college based on the Americans With Disabilities Act. The NCAA eventually caved after a two-year legal battle and Powe was admitted to the University of Mississippi. Naturally, Powe been the object of ridicule and derision by Ole Miss opponents and haters ever since. He recently participated in spring football drills and is finally, officially on the school’s football team.
The Powe story received new legs this week when the young defensive tackle was involved in a confrontation with police Sunday. The cops were called in Oxford, Mississippi and Powe was originally cited for vioating the city’s noise ordinance. Powe originally refused to take or sign the citation by police, claiming he was illiterate. He eventually signed the complaint.
Mississippi football coach Houston Nutt claims Powe was “joking” with the police saying,
“Of course he can read, how do you think he’s getting through college? Now he just needs to learn to keep his mouth shut.”
The story of an “institution of higher learning” admitting someone who can’t read and write to play football (at MISSISSIPPI no less) would seem to be too delicious a piece of irony to ignore. Yet, this story has been virtually ignored by late night comedians and even sports talk radio so far. Only sports blogs like Deadspin and SPORTSbyBROOKS have been covering the Powe story.
Finally, if you think the media is in some way exaggerating Powe’s level of illiteracy maybe you’ll believe his own mother. She once said, in official court documents:
“Jerrell really is a good child, but he just can’t read.”