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Not a great stretch for Washington State

2/23/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

If bad things happen in threes, then Washington State surely is nervous. The football program has already had two doozies over the past 10 days.

First, second-year coach Paul Wullf gets sanctioned for major NCAA violations that occurred when he was head coach at Eastern Washington.

Then sophomore quarterback Marshall Lobbestael, the favorite to start next fall, gets himself suspended after being arrested over the weekend for minor exhibiting the signs of having consumed alcohol [Ed. note: This was changed from original news reports that said Lobbestael was arrested for "minor in possession of of alcohol"].

Police apparently found Lobbestael passed out in his truck, according to KXLY in Spokane.

Here's the story on the incident from the Washington State student newspaper, The Daily Evergreen, which includes this descriptive quote from Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant.

"He was slumped over with a grocery bag of vomit between his feet," Tennant said

An athletic department spokesperson said Wulff would have no comment.

These sorts of things happen all the time in college, but one of the perils of playing football for a BCS program means your embarrassing moments might make headlines.

The larger problem for Wulff and Washington State, however, is the incident might remind some folks of the program's recent history, which hasn't been stellar off the field.

Last June, a Seattle Times investigation found that 25 Cougars had been arrested or charged with offenses that carry possible jail time over the previous 18 months.

It will not surprise you that most of those incidents involved alcohol.

According to the story:

...one player faced felony charges after hitting a man on the head with a frying pan. Another tried to hurt a teammate by soaking his contact lenses in rubbing alcohol. A third was accused of punching a student, knocking him unconscious and fracturing his cheekbone.

Much of that fell on former coach Bill Doba, who admitted in the story he took some risks in recruiting.

And Wulff and his players seemed to take measures at the time to stem the incidents. Wulff started a "Unity Council," a group of 16 players that helps police the team and recommends punishments, and instituted a curfew during 2008 spring practices. The players agreed to a drinking ban.

Obviously, that's over.

Wulff concluded the Times story by saying about these incidents, "I guarantee that will be held to a minimum as we move forward. The players understand that. I guarantee it."