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Scholarship for Dom Whaley? Get ‘er done

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Another week, another Oklahoma running back transfer.

Last week, it was Jonathan Miller who decided to leave the Sooners for a school closer to home and a program with more playing time for him.

This week, it’s Jermie Calhoun. The former Parade All-American never became the standout that folks expected he would be, and frankly, with Dominique Whaley’s recent emergence, Calhoun had to see that his opportunity to play had shrunk even more.

Speaking of Whaley, how ’bout a scholarship for the walk-on?

I know he’s had just one game for the Sooners, but listen, there’s little reason to think that what we saw from Whaley against Tulsa is some sort of aberration. The guy is legit. Now, I’m not saying he’s going to score four touchdowns this weekend at Florida State, but by all accounts, he’s every bit as good as the scholarship running backs that the Sooners have, if not better than them.

So, why not get him on scholarship?

With Miller and Calhoun leaving, it looks like the Sooners have scholarships available.

I’m actually awaiting an email from the OU compliance office about how that all works when players leave during the semester. Does their scholarship become immediately available? Or is there some sort of waiting period before another guy can get that scholarship which counts against the Sooners’ maximum of 85?

But even if there is a waiting period, why not go ahead and promise Whaley a scholarship? Give him the peace of mind that a scholarship is on its way? Even if he never has another multi-touchdown game for the Sooners, he’s earned as much. He earned it on scout team last year. He earned it in the spring. And he definitely earned it this fall.

Heck, the Sooners have 17 kickers on campus who are on scholarship. No reason Whaley shouldn’t be.

OK, OU might not have 17 kickers on scholarship, but it has a bunch. And I promise, Whaley has done way more for the Sooners than a vast majority of those guys.

Last week after practice, Whaley was talking about his life as a walk-on, and he was asked if he’d had to get a job to help pay his way through college. He said that he’d worked the Subway that used to be located near the corner of Lindsey and Jenkins but that he wasn’t working right now.

As he was talking about finances and how difficult it was to make ends meet as a walk-on, a look of realization came over Whaley’s face.

“I need to get another (job) soon,” he said.

No, what he needs to get is a scholarship.

He deserves it.


UPDATE, SEPT. 14, 9:48 a.m.

Just wanted to update everyone on the scholarship count at OU.

Spokesman Kenny Mossman said that scholarships cannot be re-awarded until the following academic semester even if an athlete leaves the team. That includes players who leave school or stay at OU.

In the case of Miller and Calhoun, Mossman tells me that both of those players are still on campus. And because of the Academic Progress Rate, an NCAA formula that tracks players’ academics and penalizes teams with too many players who are lagging behind, I’m sure OU wants those guys to finish the semester strong. Keep the grades up. Leave the school in good academic standing.

So, where does that leave Whaley?

Without a scholarship still.

But as I said before, if I were the coaches, I’d be telling this guy that a scholarship was on the way. I’d promise him that help once I had a scholarship to give him at the start of the spring semester.

Listen, I understand that plenty of Sooner walk-ons have gone longer than Whaley before they’ve gotten a scholarship. Trent Ratterree and James Winchester come to mind. And while it might cause some hurt feelings in the locker room if Whaley was awarded a scholarship, I suspect it might cause more hurt feelings if he isn’t. If he’s out there running the ball 20 times a game, getting whacked by defenders pretty much every time he does, what kind of message does it send to the rest of the guys that one of the workhorses of the offense isn’t on scholarship?

Whaley deserves that scholarship, even if he can’t get it until the spring.

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›