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May 18, 2011

Jake's Finally in the Hall, but How?

Upon hearing the news that legendary Bulldog defensive back-punt returner-man of mystery Jake Scott had finally been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, my initial thought was that it was about time.  My second: Hell must have just frozen over for many believed, including perhaps the great Scott himself, that because of the powers that be, he would never be headed to the Hall.

As I mentioned in a post of mine just over a year ago following Scott's nomination for the 2010 class, my intrigue with the man began when I was a youngster.  As we drove by the Georgia Coliseum one day, my father pointed and told me of the Bulldog football player that drove his motorcycle up one end of the arena and back down the other.  I was instantly captivated.  

My interest continued to heighten just a few years ago after reading Dave Hyde's sensational piece on the fascinating yet evasive Scott, whose life, history, and even whereabouts seemed to be surrounded by mystery.

The true mystery is why it took so long for arguably the greatest defensive player ever at Georgia to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.  

The reason is the same as to why there are many other deserving players not included, yet Coach Jim Donnan, who was at Division I-AA Marshall for just six seasons and had a sub-par five years at Georgia, was inducted less than a decade after his coaching career ended.  

The reason is also the same as to why the first criterion of Hall of Fame eligibility is "FIRST AND FOREMOST, A PLAYER MUST HAVE RECEIVED MAJOR FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICA RECOGNITION," yet inductees like Archie Manning and our own Fran Tarkenton were never first-team All-Americans as chosen by a major selector.

Simply put, the reason is political, and as mentioned in my post from March 2010, there can be a lot of politics involved when the National Football Foundation's (NFF) Honors Court actually selects the class.

So, how did Jake Scott finally get chosen this year by the Honors Court when he should have been inducted decades ago?  Why this particular class and not last year when Scott was also nominated?  What was the difference? 

I spoke with a contact of mine, who works closely with the NFF, and he said (off the record) that the Honors Court, with some nudging from a higher up (I won't mention the name) at the College Football Hall of Fame, "is trying to undo some of the earlier committee oversights and left-offs such as Billy Cannon, Gene Washington [of Michigan State], Ed Dyas (just before he died), and Jake Scott."

Although as many as three decades late, I guess the most important thing is not how, but the fact that Scott is now in the Hall of Fame where he belongs, even if undeservingly left out in the past.

Of course, from what we know of Jake Scott, he could probably care less...


Anonymous said...

As always, good piece. But GA records show Tarkenton was an All-American picked by the Assoc Press in 1960.

Patrick Garbin said...

Thanks, Anon. Yes, Georgia's records indicate Tarkenton was a first-team All-American as senior in 1960. The records started recognizing such as promptly as 1961.

Tarkenton was actually the second-team All-American as chosen by the Associated Press that season behind first-teamer Jake Gibbs of Ole Miss.

I've blogged before about the four games (3 wins, 1 loss) from the early 1900s that were inexplicably left out of the football records when they should be indeed included. I'm guessing the Tarkenton "error" is something similiar - a mistake made in the past by UGA's sports communications department that has yet to be corrected.

Thanks for reading and posting.