August 20, 2013

Chapman’s Decision Time Coming

Filed under: Football,Players,Scandal — Chas @ 5:16 pm

The fact that Tra’von Chapman’s status has been up in the air all month hasn’t been a big surprise. It isn’t an easy decision. It also isn’t a big surprise that a decision has to be made some time this week. With classes starting on Monday, all sides need resolution.

The only surprise is that the fate of Chapman is not in Head Coach Paul Chryst’s hands this time. It is in the hands of Chancellor Mark Nordenberg.

“I am waiting on the call sometime (Tuesday or Wednesday) to see what the outcome is going to be,” he said.

Coach Paul Chryst said Tuesday afternoon no determination has been reached in Chapman’s case.

Chapman has been suspended from the team and unable to attend classes since he was arrested in April for assaulting a former girlfriend in Kent, Ohio. He pleaded guilty and served a three-day jail term last month.

“The plan is to have me back,” Chapman said. “I want to come back. Coach Chryst and everyone else want me back. Mr. (Steve) Pederson (athletic director) is presenting the case to the chancellor and the chancellor is going to decide.”

Chapman, a four-star freshman quarterback, graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in December and enrolled in Pitt a month later.

For those that think this is a slam dunk either way, I have my doubts. And it has little to do with his recruiting rank.

Nordenberg is a designator. He wants to trust the people he puts in charge of a department. Whether it is the football program, the English departerment, athletic department, etc. So if they are going to bat for somebody, he will tend to trust those decisions. If Chryst and Pederson are indeed going to bat for Chapman, that will go a long way.

On the other side, Nordenberg is retiring. For those that think it makes it easier for him to let Chapman come back because it will be someone elses problem, I disagree. The last thing Nordenberg wants is a public decision like this coming back at him wrong. He cares about his legacy, and this one has a chance to go sideways. If Chapman were to ever screws up at Pitt again, it splashes on him. He’s the one that gave him that second chance. He’s the one that screwed up in letting him back. It would be far easier from a legacy standpoint to just cut Chapman than let him earn his way back.

Then there is the Wannstedt hangover. (And I swear, this isn’t a Wannstedt bashing exercise, just a factor). Dave Wannstedt had a really solid relationship with Nordenberg. Very chummy, as Wannstedt has always been skilled at doing with his top boss (see, also, NFL owners in Dallas, Chicago and Miami.) But in the end, Nordenberg got burned when the Sports Illustrated article altered the perception on how Wannstedt ran the program. If all efforts have gone into shedding that stigma, than this matter becomes even more complicated.

I’ve been up front. I have no problem with Chapman being allowed to stay. My feeling is a full year, true suspension. He is just a student. He can’t work out or practice with the team — he’s on his own there. While it can count as a redshirt, there is little chance he truly gets a chance to develop and learn football. He only gets to learn as a person and a student. He got an early start at Pitt. He should get a chance to show that he really is going to be a better person.

Pitt isn’t LSU, where Les Miles can spew whatever line he wants and bring a kid back right away. Chapman is needs to have to take real consequences. That doesn’t mean he has to do it somewhere else.


Chapman may be a victim of the other things that have gone on over the past few months, and he may be shown the door when in another time, he may have been given another chance … but who knows.

Since his dad is an assistant college coach (Kent St), that may be a plus knowing that he will get good guidance from the homefront.

Comment by wbb 08.20.13 @ 6:06 pm

We’ll know for sure by the end of the week. For both Chapman’s and Pitt’s sake, I hope he gets a second chance.

On another note, I really like what I hear from this James Conner kid. He strikes me as an individual who has something to prove. I would not be the least surprised if he shows up as a key player in our opener.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.20.13 @ 6:13 pm

Seems like Chapman is being held to a higher standard than the rest of the student population. Kids are frequently arrested for underage drinking, fighting at parties or in the dorms (aggravated assault), DUI, ect. About the only kids I can ever remember being kicked out of school were some idiots who decided to pull a WVU and took over Forbes, throwing some parking signs through a vehicles window, and setting a couple fires. I can’t recall what victory this “celebration” followed, but it’s the only time I remember anyone being kicked out. And it’s probably just because they ended up on YouTube and embarrassed the University, not so much that they were actually arrested.

I’m not trying to make light of what Chapman did. Just making a point is all.

Comment by BostonsCommon 08.20.13 @ 7:52 pm

There is no way they don’t take this kid back. I don’t have an opinion either way. If they cut him I’d support it, If they kept him and he truly is remorseful and gets help I’d support it. I cna’t fathom putting my hands on a woman….Maybe Dad and Mom should have taught here more about life who knows. My point is it isn’t going to be a few months and then they say see you later. 1 year suspension kid RS’s and he is back next year. Sounds just like Les Miles to me Chas. Same thing would happen at LSU, let’s not act like we are above them.

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.20.13 @ 8:57 pm

If Coach Chryst has gone to bat for Chapman, then I hope the kid gets a chance to redeem himself by the way he conducts himself at Pitt – including being a model student-athlete and getting his diploma.

Go Pitt.

Comment by MajorMajors 08.20.13 @ 9:08 pm

He attacked and held hostage a young woman — fuck that, I don’t want the kid at Pitt. I never attacked or held hostage anyone, much less a young girl, and none of my friends ever did…and many of us were athletes. We did some silly, bonehead things, but never attacked a woman.

Getting into a scrap with a drunk idiot at a frat party is one thing — if its largely unavoidable, but attacking/falsely imprisoning a young lady is lowlife sh#t.

Men, don’t let your honor drop just cause you want a chance at a few more wins. If his dad the coach is such a great influence, how come he did it in the first place? If I was his dad, I’d make him work at Wendy’s or in a mill for the next year, keep his nose clean, then let him go to school after he realized how lucky he was to have a full scholarship and not be in jail longer than three days.

Comment by Matt N. 08.20.13 @ 10:16 pm

If we dumped our head coach for largely the same thing (the right move), how on earth can we keep this kid?

Comment by Matt N. 08.20.13 @ 10:26 pm

Let me air out a big beef I have …. I know that shocks many of you coming from me.

But below is a link to a Chat the PG had with Elijah Zeise, and note that he said his father wouldn’t allow him to play football until 7th grade. Imagine that! And he still got D1 offers!

I walk around Mentor (OH) and other areas here in Northeast OH, and see these little kids playing spring flag football tournaments at 8 a.m. Saturday … these kids are about 7 and 8 years and the football covers their entire torso.

It is flag, not tackle (thank goodness) football but even a couple times during the weeks, these little guys are are running thru drills, and plays. Again, this happens in the spring as well as August thru October.

I just want to shout out loud to these parents to let these kids alone and play on their own. These drills cannot be meaningful since they are so young, and their body will go thru so many changes. They also stand a chance of being overexposed and rebelling at some future time.

Sorry, if I offended any parent reading this.

link to

Comment by wbb 08.21.13 @ 6:24 am

Matt N, your last post states a strong argument for releasing Chapman from his scholarship. And BTW, the reason guys like Chapman are held to a higher standard than the average student is that they are on full SCHOLARSHIP! Not to mention the high profile that he already has once he steps on campus.

Any way you cut it, he pulled a dumba$$ move. Now the catch 22 is the judge in her ruling, made as a contingency to his reduced jail time that he complete “anger management classes” at the University of Pittsburgh. That may be hard to comply with if he is released from his scholarship.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.21.13 @ 6:32 am

@ wbb, whatever you do , don’t ever start investigating how little kids who have aspirations of competing in sports like gymnastics at the Olympic level train their way to fame. Your head will explode!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.21.13 @ 6:36 am

at least in gymnastics, they are paying for qualified training … that’s not the case here. It appears that they are being run thru these drills by a bunch of wannabes.

Comment by wbb 08.21.13 @ 6:42 am

I would be shocked if he does not return. My sources tell me he is living witha family in Wexford in order to divorce him from the negative influences back home. He is in Pgh. I expect him to return.

Comment by titleman 08.21.13 @ 7:19 am

Initially, believed there was no way Chapman could be allowed back on the team… both by the nature of his crime and the cloud hanging over Pitt with the Haywood firing.

However, the fact that Pitt has gone public announcing that it will Nordenberg’s decision… seems to create a window by giving cover to Chryst and Pederson.

Still think it’s a bad idea.

Obviously, Chryst thinks he really needs another quarterback.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.21.13 @ 7:48 am

Wise move (something not said often about Pitt) gving the decision to Nordy and seperating HCPC from the PR consequences of the decision.

I hope he gets a second chance at Pitt.

Comment by Dan 72 08.21.13 @ 8:20 am

I saw an unofficial report of a 1 year suspension but he can practice with the team. If so, that’s not a punishment, that’s just giving him a redshirt that he was going to get anyways.

Comment by Justin 08.21.13 @ 8:22 am

Justin – Very LSU-ish if you ask me. If Chryst did the right thing the kid would be gone but Chapman is his recruit and double standards are coming into play. We are no better than the SEC schools you guys like to make fun of.

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.21.13 @ 8:26 am

I would have rather have Chryst take back a malcontent who needs to grow up but didn’t commit any crimes recently or spend any time in jail recently like Shell than take back Chapman. If one of Chryst’s goals is/was to clean up the program, then it makes no sense that Chapman is still on the team. On the other hand if you can forgive a player for assaulting his girlfriend and spending time in jail, shouldn’t you be able to find some forgiveness for a talented but huge pain in Shell? But hey it’s Chryst’s team so he can do what he wants. Hopefully, his plans works out and Pitt wins.

Seriously, if you are going to run a clean program, then run it completely clean with no exceptions. And if you are going to not be 100% clean then you better be as dirty as the big schools. Being semi-clean and mediocre is the worst of both worlds. At least if the program was 100% clean, we could say pretentious things about how academics and quality of character count more at Pitt than football wins.

Comment by Wardapalooza 08.21.13 @ 8:51 am

Remorse and admitting responsibility for your transgression, goes a long way for a first time offender, when considering extenuating circumstances. If Chapman does end up back on the team, heaven help him if he steps in some additional dodo for some future personal indiscretion. That could give him his walking papers for sure, as has already occurred with others that have stepped out of line more than once already during Chryst’s tenure.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.21.13 @ 9:03 am

Pitt will find a way to do itself in. Being mediocre plus is status quo. It’s absurd that Nordenberg has to be involved in this. Punish the kid and let him back now. Go to the Patriot League if you have a saint complex. The Ivy League already rejected Pitt.

For Christ’s sake, does anyone know anything about competing and winning games?

Comment by TonyinHouston 08.21.13 @ 9:08 am

If the kid has repented give him a second
chance. If there a next time he is gone.

Comment by JR 08.21.13 @ 9:50 am

I will bet on Chapman being a good citizen and redeeming him self over a lifetime of BS that Shell puts out. No comparison. He made a juvenile mistake and will pay a price on and off the field. But If HCPC feels he is sincere in his remorse understands he needs to prove himself, then what is the big deal.

Comment by chethejet 08.21.13 @ 10:40 am

Beating up a woman is as low as it gets in my mind. Fights, drunk, normal college stuff this is not. This golden boy isn’t so golden. Again, Chryst can do what he wants. It’s his problem. I also agree having a Chancellor even have this come across his desk is bush league. Let the people you hire make decisions unless they are incapable…. Is Steve “The Disaster” Pederson capable? LOL

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.21.13 @ 12:35 pm

Wardapalooza, I don’t see where the two players situations are related. Although they are both character issues one players problems concerned illegal activity before he even became part of the team and the other concerns bad choices as a team leader. One made his mistake in a moment of anger while the other made his mistakes after time to think about them. One has repented and having paid for his crime is asking for a chance , while the other kissed us off until the reality of his stupidity registered and then he wanted us to overlook it, with no consequences to him. Shell made his own bed, Chapman’s fate hangs in the balance and I am good with whatever the boss decides. I think Shell got what he deserved after being given lots of chances while Chapman will be lucky to get a chance at all.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 08.21.13 @ 12:59 pm

wbb — agree with you on the little kids thing…that just seems crazy to me.

Wardapalooza — in total agreement with you on all your points.

TonyinHouston — what if it was your daughter or a friend of the family that Tra’von roughed up…should you be accused of having a Saint complex if you said the heck with that?

Comment by Matt N. 08.21.13 @ 1:07 pm

Justin, I could be wrong, but I think I read somewhere that a suspension counts as a year of eligibility. If they do not suspend the kid, it sure does create the appearance of a different set of rules for Chryst’s own recruits. We have kicked two players off of this team for the appearance of wrong doing. Neither was convicted or even charged with a crime. If nothing else, the kid needs a year away from football to give him time to deal with his anger issues before he finds himself losing a great head coaching job at a D1 football program because he thinks its OK to rough up his woman because she pissed him off. I know, that is a far fetched story!

Comment by HbgFrank 08.21.13 @ 3:12 pm

We just went thru this a couple weeks ago. I don’t feel like re-addressing it.

Whatever decision the decision makers make I’ll be alright with.

I’m sure another post is coming when that decision is made.

Dysfunctional families create dysfunctional kids which produce dysfunctional football players, which is the current state of dysfunctional America.

Comment by EMel 08.21.13 @ 4:31 pm

EMel, where does the buck stop for you? Or is it okay just to throw your hands up and say oy with America? I think its about personal responsibility — the kid has to pay the price for his own actions, not those of his father or country — kinda like the justice system in general.

I beat this wimpy kid up and stole this tv because my mom hated my father for being a drunken bum, so its okay, right your honor?

Comment by Matt N. 08.21.13 @ 5:20 pm

Not knowing all the mitigating aspects of the case, the way ….say Chyrst, Pederson & Nordenberg do I’ll let them decide what’s best for Mr. Chapman.

They get paid to make those decisions I don’t.
That’s where my buck stops Matt.

If you feel you have more info to make a better decision than those 3….more power to you !

You are indeed a better man than me Gunga Din.

Comment by EMel 08.22.13 @ 1:21 am

We don’t have more info. than those three but having more info. never stopped Pitt from doing dumb things before.

Comment by Matt N. 08.22.13 @ 1:54 am

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