Some deposed Hawkeye football players of the recent past didn't leave football behind

Published: December 15 2010 | 11:17 am - Updated: 3 April 2014 | 6:15 pm in
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James Cleveland and Arvell Nelson were arrested in the U. of Iowa dorm room they shared in February 2008. Cleveland  was arrested for two counts of unlawful possession of a prescription drug and an Iowa drug tax stamp violation. Nelson was arrested for a marijuana possession charge. He had been arrested several months earlier for driving with a suspended license. Both pleaded guilty to the drug charges, received deferred judgments, and were sentenced to one year of self-supervised probation.

Cleveland had 36 catches for 464 yards as an Iowa freshman in 2007. He went on to have a prolific two years at wide receiver for the University of Houston. He had 104 catches for 1,214 yards last year as a junior. This season his totals dropped to 57 catches and 800 yards. Part of the reason was the ACL injury in September to star Cougars quarterback Case Keenum, then backup Cotton Turner was lost for the season due to a broken clavicle.

But part of the reason Cleveland's numbers didn't match last year's is that he was held out of Houston's game against Mississippi State in October for a violation of team rules. Then he was suspended for a second time, for the team's season-finale at Texas Tech. Again, for an unspecified violation of team rules. He is a senior. Where to now, James?

Nelson also migrated from Iowa to Houston, where he played for Texas Southern University. First, Nelson went to Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College.

"I sat in my room, looking at the walls, the walls that looked like a jail cell, wondering, 'How did you get here? Why are you here?'?" Nelson said in this Houston Chronicle story.

Nelson then played the last two years at Texas Southern, and this year helped the Tigers to their first conference title in 42 years.

"Arvell is a great young man," Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz told the Chronicle. "We were very impressed with him when we recruited him. My feelings on that never changed. It's not uncommon for young people, not just athletes, to go off to college and make some bad decisions. The important thing is he has bounced back."

"I learned a lot of valuable lessons while I was at Iowa," Nelson said in the Chronicle's story. "The biggest lesson was me getting kicked out. To be in this position, playing for a championship, is truly a blessing. It could have ended after I blew my first chance."

But TSU had to play the Southwestern Athletic Conference title game last Saturday without Nelson. TSU Athletic Director Charles McClelland said this to Fox 26 Sports in Houston:

"As the athletic director I had to make a decision. Arvell Nelson is not going to participate in the game today.

"He is academically eligible to particiate. He has been from the start of the season. This is something that's specific to this game and as athletic director I want to err on the side of caution.

"I want to be clear this is an institutional decision. This is not a decision that came from the NCAA."

From this Chronicle story:  The NCAA told McClelland that TSU could play Nelson. He wasn't ruled ineligible, but if a deeper investigation reveals that the school rolled the dice on a player with eligibility issues when it didn't have to, the organization's enforcement arm would not be kind.

Texas Southern still managed an 11-6 win over Alabama State for the league-title in the game at Birmingham, Ala. It was the Tigers' first outright SWAC title since they joined the league in 1956.

Nelson is a senior. Where to now, Arvell?

Remember Dominique Douglas of Detroit, Iowa football fans? Sure you do.

He had quite a freshman season for the Hawkeyes in 2006 with 49 catches for 654 yards. He also averaged 10.2 yards on 14 punt-returns.

Then Douglas was arrested in August 2007 for unauthorized use of a credit card. He ended up pleading guilty to credit card fraud, an aggravated misdemeanor. He was placed on indefinite suspension from the Iowa team after his arrest. Two months later, he was arrested in Iowa City for fifth-degree theft. On the credit card charge, he was sentenced to two years probation.

On Aug. 1, 2008, Douglas was arrested for armed robbery, motor vehicle fraud and carrying a concealed weapon. He allegedly witnessed or took part in a Detroit robbery where jewelry and $2,000 in cash were stolen from a man in a vehicle. He was extradited to Iowa City from the Wayne County Jail after violating his probation, because he failed to send monthly reports, provide proof that he is enrolled in college or pay his fines, and served some time in the Johnson County Jail.

On Dec. 5 of this year, Douglas played for Grand Rapids Community College in the Mississippi Bowl. Man, did he play. He caught 10 passes for 232 yards and four touchdowns. GRCC  lost 62-53 to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Douglas had 62 receptions for 954 yards and 11 touchdowns for GRCC, which went 10-2.

Douglas made it all the way to the end of the season. His eligibility is up at Grand Rapids. Where to now, Dominique?

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