If it'll help you find these Saturday Skull Sessions any more enjoyable, just know that this feature will be replaced with game previews and afternoon open threads in just over three months. As it is, we'll talk about some miscellanous news items here and there in the wide world of college sports.
MAURICE CLARETT TRYING HIS HAND AT RUGBY. File this under the category of things of which Ohio State fans have known for some time. However, national media is picking up with this story on Maurice Clarett and running with it, so we can talk about it.
Relax: it has nothing to do with a stolen car from ten years ago, nor should it make Kirk Herbstreit afraid to send his hypothetical college age children to Ohio State to play football.
Though Maurice Clarett had a stint with the UFL's Omaha Nighthawks for two years following his release from his prison, his gridiron days may be coming to an end. Clarett is 29 years old, which is an advanced age for a professional football running back. Clarett takes diligent care of himself and the time in prison equates to less figurative tread on the tire, but that does not change his position much. As a result, Clarett is trying to make it in a similar sport: rugby. He announced not too long ago that he was serious about being an Olympian in the sport. The upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will see rugby debut as a medal-awarding sport.
Yesterday, the Columbus Dispatch announced that Maurice Clarett will be playing in the Tiger Rugby-sponsored Ohio Rugby Sevens Invitational in Mechanicsburg on May 25. Tiger Rugby is the rugby development program, based in Columbus, Ohio, that has the task of selecting a team to represent the United States in Rio in 2016.
We obviously wish Maurice Clarett well as he pursues this shot at glory in 2016. He will be 32 going on 33 when the Rio games come, but this age should mean less in rugby than in professional football. What's more germane to the conversation is learning the differences between the two games that belie their prima facie similarity.
Really, one wonders if this is the next step for former college football players and NFL washouts. Professional football has no real development program like Major League Baseball's farm system, nor does it have the multi-layered hierarchy of professional squads like European soccer. If players don't land one of 53 roster spots on a given NFL team, the options are UFL, Arena League, or Canadian Football. This would be acceptable if college football wasn't churning out prospect after prospect every year. This could become a new thing, provided there is sufficient fan interest in rugby across the United States to keep the enterprise afloat.