In the midst of a press conference before a game featuring Tulane and UAB, a pair of 1-6 teams (UAB vs Tulane), I asked Green Wave head coach Curtis Johnson the following question at his weekly press conference.
How do you feel about playing in a league when the other teams have junior college players?
Johnson said, "I think the door may be open for us to get some JUCO guys."
If it happens - and that's a big if - it is a sign that the Tulane Administration may be getting a whiff of major college football reality.
Johnson went on to say that Tulane will never be "a junior college school." And, he's correct.
But one or two JUCO players a year would help the Tulane football program immensely.
They have before.
In 1982, Tulane beat LSU 31-28 at Tiger Stadium. The win was Tulane's last in the series. The Wave quarterback that night was junior college transfer Mike McKay.
Wave running back Elton Veals, who also played for head coach Vince Gibson, was also a junior college player.
My argument for JUCO's is simple.
If a school like LSU that competes for SEC and BCS titles yearly needs an occasional assist from the junior college ranks, so does a school like Tulane University.
This year's LSU starting quarterback, Zach Mettenberger, is a junior college transfer. So was the best receiver on the 2007 BCS national champions. He is Demetrius Byrd.
Linebacker E.J. Kuale and defensive tackle Claude Wroten, two players who made significant impacts at LSU, were also junior college transfers.
So we ask: What kind of impact would two junior college transfers on the offensive line mean for this year's Tulane football team?
The impact would have been significant. Rhat's before injuries.
If Tulane has an experienced starter at a position go down, chances are he's being backed up by an inexperienced and young backup.
JUCO players got a bad name at Tulane in the early 80's. That's when head coach Wally English brought in a host of junior college players/ That is not something that runs concurrent with Tulane's academic mission.
But there is room for compromise.
What Curtis Johnson should tell Tulane President Scott Cowen and Director of Athletics Rick Dickson is the following: "Just let us have two JUCO's a year. It is our job to make sure they succeed academically. If they don't, then re-visit the issue."
The bottom line is Conference-USA is a league littered with junior college players.
For years, Tulanians have lamented their inability to compete in what is not one of the best football leagues in the land.
Other schools have had competitive advantages. The use of junior college help is one of them.
If that is changing, great.
I would say to the Tulane administration, welcome to the real world of major college football.
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