- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Mike Williams saga at Syracuse was one of the strangest stories in the Big East last season.
Williams, as you'll recall, was having a great comeback season before he got in trouble and quit the team, according to coach Doug Marrone. Well, the Daily Orange sheds some light on what happened in a story published today.
What we knew was that Williams and three other players were involved in a car accident coming back from Turning Stone casino early in the morning after a Halloween night out. That constituted a curfew violation, and Williams -- who had been suspended for a game earlier in the season and missed all of 2008 because of academics -- was already on very thin ice.
From the Daily Orange story:
Later that day, [Marrone] held a team vote to decide whether or not Williams should stay on the team. It wasn’t even close. Multiple players said that the black players generally voted “yes” and the white players generally voted “no.”
[Receiver Donte] Davis said more than 80 percent of the team voted Williams to stay.
After the vote, Marrone tried to call Williams. But Williams' cell phone had been lost in the accident, and he wasn't staying in his room because his roommate had the flu. Marrone couldn't reach Williams and assumed he didn't want to play for the Orange any more. The next day, he announced Williams had quit.
Williams, though, tried to get back on the team, according to the story.
A couple days later, he drove back to Syracuse from Buffalo with his mother and mentor. First, the trio met with SU Athletics Director Daryl Gross.
“Daryl Gross said, ‘We can’t lose you,’” Williams recalls. “He was saying that I should be back on the team.”
Then, the group met with the head coach. Marrone wouldn’t budge.
“He told me he’d see me next year,” Williams said. “He said, ‘See me next year.’”
It sounds like there was bad communication all around. However, it's hard to deny that Williams had a history of problems and had no business missing curfew by going to a casino.
Williams has a chance to rebuild his reputation now after getting drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month. Here's hoping he doesn't blow that chance.