Louisville head coach Charlie Strong confirmed to The Courier-Journal's C.L. Brown Thursday afternoon that multiple key contributors to the Cardinal football team will not be playing in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 27 against North Carolina State.
The most notable among this group is senior defensive end Greg Scruggs, whom Strong confirmed did not make the trip and who is - according to the wording of Brown's tweet - no longer with the team. Strong also confirmed the departure of junior safety Shenard Holton, who announced his intent to transfer on Twitter earlier this month.
Strong also confirmed that freshman wide receiver Michaelee Harris did suffer a knee injury in practice that will keep him from playing in the bowl game. Harris redshirted the 2010 season because of a knee injury and then tore the PCL in his other knee during winter workouts last March, forcing him to miss all of spring practice. He will likely be out until the start of fall camp for the 2012 season.
Additionally, junior defensive tackle Randy Salmon has implied on both Facebook and Twitter that he has left the U of L program. A source with the team tells me that his current plan is to join Shenard Holton in transferring to New Mexico Highlands University, the home of former Cardinal linebacker Jordan Campbell. Salmon had 20 tackles and one sack this season.
It sounds bad when you lay it all out like that, but with the exception of the Salmon news, we already knew (or assumed in the case of Scruggs) all of this.
The situation with Scruggs is a classic case of doing the right thing even when it feels wrong. By nearly every account, Scruggs has been everything you look for in a college athlete: successful on the field, successful in the classroom and a great role model for the community. Still, he made a mistake that demanded punishment, especially heading into a game that is at least partially about setting a tone for the future.
While I think the majority of us will still remember Scruggs in a light that's largely positive, there's no question that one mistake has tarnished his U of L legacy forever, and that's a shame.