How ridiculous was Mississippi State recruit Jaemon Lewis' claim this week that a handful of widely circulated Facebook updates among Bulldog prospects bragging about a visit to a local strip club, The Pony, during an official recruiting trip last weekend were only posted as "a joke"? Even MSU officials can't let that story stand:
STARKVILLE — Several football prospects on visits to Mississippi State last weekend violated school policy by going to an "establishment deemed impermissible," MSU athletic director Greg Byrne said Thursday.
Writing in his weekly letter to fans on the MSU Web site, Byrne also said some current football players visited the establishment, but didn't name the players. He called it a "very limited number" and said State's inquiry into the matter is over.
Byrne also assured fans that the excursion did not threaten the eligibility of any players or recruits (one of whom, Jay Hughes, is the son of MSU assistant coach Tony Hughes, who's worked at all three of Mississippi's major programs and is generally regarded as the best recruiter in the state). Possibly recalling the explosive sex-for-recruits scandal at Colorado at the beginning of the decade -- the primary reason "sex as a recruiting tool" is now explicitly verboten at every school in the country -- Byrne also stressed that the trip wasn't on any itinerary and occurred entirely "without the approval or consent of our coaches or athletic department."
If the school does find any violations -- possibly involving floppy-haired Lyon Brown, the student who appeared on a few recruits' Facebook pages bragging about his own role in facilitating the trips -- they'll be of a relatively meek, secondary nature. There will be no scandals here, although a few faces this week have probably matched their maroon shirts.
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I appreciate Byrne's assurance that only a "very limited number" of players made the trip to the establishment in question: I can only imagine the scene if the entire 100-man roster rolled up in the club at once. I'm not sure The Pony's infrastructure or personnel is equipped for that kind of display of team unity, but that's not to discourage the 'Dawgs from giving it a shot. You know, to build solidarity.