The long road regarding the status of Mike Williams is finally over. The NCAA ruled that Williams will not be playing receiver for the University of Southern California in 2004. The news reached Coach Pete Carroll just as he and the team were ready to board a flight to Baltimore for this weekend's BCA Classic.
Williams said he was thankful that the process is over, but he certainly would like to be a part of the Trojan team in 2004. He has decided to stay in school and work out with USC strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle.
Williams will now enter the 2005 NFL draft.
Carroll talked to Petros Papadakis on 1540 AM radio and did not sound very positive about the NCAA decision. He felt sorry for Williams and commented that while the NCAA is supposed to be student-athlete friendly, they are “anything but that.”
The team should be ready to go without Williams. The team has practiced all fall, mostly without his services, and will see Steve Smith, Chris McFoy and true freshman Dwayne Jarrett handling most of the receiver reps.
The University can appeal the ruling, but nothing is certain at this point.
Williams went on with Petros and talked about everything that happened to him. The news came to Williams through Pete Carroll just about one hour before they were supposed to fly out. He first heard the decision would come today, and 10 minutes later the word came out that he would not be reinstated.
Williams had handled the whole process with class and has not trashed the NCAA or the NFL. He told the team to make sure it was not a distraction and wanted his team to play well.
What made him feel bad was his loyal support group of fans, his parents and the coaches, all the people who wanted him to see him play and were let down by this NCAA decision.
Looking back on his career he has good memories. He especially is happy about never losing to rivals UCLA and Notre Dame. He also enjoyed being able to play with a Heisman Trophy winner and some future stars like Reggie Bush.