Oklahoma has often been talked about as the favorite to win a national championship heading into 2011. If they want to take predictions and turn them into reality, they'll want to avoid many more announcements like the one that came out last Friday. It was announced that Sooners starting cornerback, Jamell Fleming, isn't enrolled in school this spring and is far from a lock to return to the Sooners when practice opens in Norman next fall. Fleming finished second in the Big 12 with five interceptions in 2010 and became one of OU's better defenders as the season wore on last year.
In Jake Trotter's report that came out this morning, academics are being sighted as the reason for Fleming's departure.
Fleming, the source believes, could still return to the program for the fall semester. But he would need to take classes elsewhere between now and then to be eligible. That's also assuming OU allows him back.
It doesn't sound like a promising situation, especially considering the reason was listed as "academic misconduct." Not to mention, this is Flemings second time has had to sit out a spring semester due to academics.
By no means are Oklahoma's title hopes pinned to one player, but losing Fleming in the pass-happy Big 12 sure won't make contending for a title any easier. The good thing for the Sooners and, as you might expect, there is talent behind him. Sophomore-to-be Aaron Colvin saw plenty of action last fall as a freshman and performed well when called upon. Gabe Lynn should also get a look in helping replace Fleming should he indeed not return to the Sooners next fall. So the talent is there, but any margin for error just took a big hit with the announcement on Fleming.
Contending for a title is hard enough as it is, but it doesn't look like OU is making it any easier on themselves this offseason.