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Bellotti defends recruiting of felon.

Byline: ROB MOSELEY The Register-Guard

Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti Robert Michael Bellotti (b. December 21, 1950 in Sacramento, California) has been the head coach of the University of Oregon football team since 1995. His accomplishments at Oregon include an 11-1 season and #2 national ranking in 2001. Education
 defended the Ducks' recruitment of convicted felon An individual who commits a crime of a serious nature, such as Burglary or murder. A person who commits a felony.

felon n. a person who has been convicted of a felony, which is a crime punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison.
 Rodney Woods on Friday, and questioned the Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850.  Daily News' characterization of a letter he wrote to the court in support of Woods.

Woods, a junior college all-American at cornerback for Fresno City College Fresno City College (or FCC) is a city college in Fresno, California. Established in 1910, it was the first community college in California and the second in the nation.  the past two seasons, was convicted of felony assault and served eight months in jail following an altercation that took place at a party in Palmdale, Calif., on May 19, 2000, the Daily News reported Thursday.

Oregon has accepted a signed letter of intent from Woods contingent on Adj. 1. contingent on - determined by conditions or circumstances that follow; "arms sales contingent on the approval of congress"
contingent upon, dependant on, dependant upon, dependent on, dependent upon, depending on, contingent
 his conviction being reduced from a felony to a lesser charge, Bellotti said.

Two of Woods' high school classmates Classmates can refer to either:
  •, a social networking website.
  • Classmates (film), a 2006 Malayalam blockbuster directed by Lal Jose, starring Prithviraj, Jayasurya, Indragith, Sunil, Jagathy, Kavya Madhavan, Balachandra Menon, ...
 were sentenced to prison terms for voluntary manslaughter The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page.
 in the death of a second victim in the same incident, though Woods wasn't charged in that case.

Woods was convicted in the assault of another student at the party, and is currently involved in proceedings in Lancaster (Calif.) Superior Court to reduce his conviction to a misdemeanor so he can accept the scholarship at Oregon, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 the newspaper report.

On Thursday, the judge in the reduction hearing continued the procedure until Feb. 28 so that "a court-ordered psychologist can examine Woods to determine whether he poses a danger to society," the report said.

Bellotti and UO defensive coordinator A defensive coordinator typically refers to a coach on a football team in the National Football League or college football who is in charge of the defense. This position aids the head coach a great deal in many ways by delegating play calling to other coaches and allowing the head  Nick Aliotti submitted letters to the court supporting Woods in his effort to get his life back on track and urging a speedy decision.

The Daily News characterized the letters as an effort to urge the court "to reduce the felony and give Woods a second chance."

Bellotti said Friday there is a distinction between showing support for Woods and actually urging the court to reduce the felony conviction.

"My concern in all this is that the letters that were submitted by myself and Nick Aliotti only asked for an expedient conclusion to the situation - asked for no change in the judge's ruling or anything else," Bellotti said Friday. "I take exception to the article in that regard."

In his letter, dated Jan. 18, Bellotti tells the court of the signed letter of intent, then makes his case for the "expedient decision."

"Obviously, we are not asking the court to change the law or to do anything that is out of the ordinary," Bellotti wrote.

"However, according to Rodney's coaches and professors at Fresno City College, he has done everything asked of him in terms of his probation, his behavior, his citizenship in the community Citizenship in the Community is a Eagle required merit badge for the Boy Scouts of America. Visit it has a printable worksheet with all the requirements for all of the meritbadges. , and represented Fresno City College very well.

"His admission to the University of Oregon The University of Oregon is a public university located in Eugene, Oregon. The university was founded in 1876, graduating its first class two years later. The University of Oregon is one of 60 members of the Association of American Universities. , and his ability to accept a full-ride scholarship and get on with his life depends entirely on the felony charge being reduced down to a misdemeanor.

`He will not be allowed to enroll in our university or any university, as I understand at this point, unless that is done. There are time constraints that affect his admission status."

Oregon begins its spring term on March 31, and Woods would be eligible to participate in spring drills if he enrolled for the upcoming term.

"We're not asking for anything other than an expedient decision to allow Rodney to get on with his life," Bellotti wrote in the letter.

According to the Daily News story, however, the issue wouldn't disappear even if Woods' conviction is reduced.

The father of the manslaughter victim - 18-year-old Christopher O'Leary - said he believes that Woods was the instigator in·sti·gate  
tr.v. in·sti·gat·ed, in·sti·gat·ing, in·sti·gates
1. To urge on; goad.

2. To stir up; foment.

 of the attacks that led to his son's death, the article said.

"I don't see how anyone could offer him a scholarship based on the severity of the offense," Michael O'Leary Michael O'Leary is the name of a number of prominent people:
  • Michael O'Leary (VC) (1890–1961), Irish-Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Michael O'Leary (politician) (1936–2006), former leader of the Irish Labour Party
 said. "I would be extremely shocked and extremely offended if he were able to work the justice system this way."

The victim of the assault for which Woods was convicted, Kevin Walker For other persons of the same name, see Walker.

Kevin Walker is the name of:
  • Kevin Walker (Brothers & Sisters), television character on Brothers & Sisters
  • Kevin Walker (football player), former American football player
, added that he "would be outraged if Woods' record is dropped down," according to the Daily News.

Both O'Leary's parents and Walker will be allowed to speak at the hearing in February, the judge ruled Thursday.

Though Bellotti expressed regret for the death of O'Leary, he stressed that Woods wasn't implicated im·pli·cate  
tr.v. im·pli·cat·ed, im·pli·cat·ing, im·pli·cates
1. To involve or connect intimately or incriminatingly: evidence that implicates others in the plot.

 in that attack, and was worthy of a second chance at Oregon.

"We've had him up here on a visit, we've had him involved with our players, I've talked with his parents, and I feel comfortable that, were he able to get into school here, that given the track record he's had at Fresno College, he would be a quality member of not just this institution but the community, too," Bellotti said. "And I wouldn't have gone this far had I not felt that way."

Fresno City College coach Tony Caviglia - who also coached Maurice Morris Maurice Autora Morris (born December 1, 1979 in Chester, South Carolina) is an American football running back for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. He was drafted in the second round (54th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft out of the University of Oregon.  at the junior college - echoed Bellotti's support of Woods, calling the cornerback "one of the best kids I've ever coached."

"I was kind of concerned when he came over here, but in talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
lecture, speech

rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to
 him and watching him for two and a half years now, he's been unbelievable," Caviglia said. "After about a month and a half, I realized there wasn't going to be a problem with this kid.

"I wouldn't put my reputation on the line and say that if I didn't believe that," Caviglia added, citing his long-standing relationships with Bellotti and Aliotti. "I'm not going to send a kid up there that's going to do anything to be a detriment to their program. I respect those guys too much."

Bellotti said Woods was offered "between 10 and 20 scholarships, including other Pac-10 schools that I know of for sure."

The letter Woods signed contained a condition that the player not have a felony condition on his record, per UO athletic department policy, he said.

Bellotti has taken on second-chance cases in the past, including Onterrio Smith, who was dismissed from Tennessee after using marijuana. Woods would not have been considered for a scholarship had he been charged and convicted in O'Leary's death, Bellotti said, and was accepted only based on recommendations from his high school and junior college coaches, as well as UO coordinators Aliotti and Andy Ludwig.

"I know that there have been other people that I have given those chances to that have been in a similar situation," Bellotti said. "And I know it happens frequently at a lot of other institutions."

"We always take into account the character of the person, the situation, the circumstances," Bellotti added later. "And then we make educated guesses.

"Do we make mistakes? Yes, but not very often."

Bellotti said Oregon's struggles last season, particularly at Woods' cornerback position, didn't affect the decision to offer him a letter of intent.

"Last year's season and the position he plays, doesn't really matter," the coach said. "We look at the opportunity to recruit the best athletes, and we always check into character concerns and considerations. Regardless of record, I believe we would recruit Rodney Woods.'

Woods still must qualify academically, Bellotti said, besides fulfilling the other conditions set forth in the letter of intent.

ADDED RECRUIT: Oregon received an oral commitment from Marcus Maxwell, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound receiver from Diablo Valley (Calif.) College, the Contra Costa Times The Contra Costa Times is a daily newspaper based in Walnut Creek, California. The paper serves Contra Costa and eastern Alameda counties, in the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay Area.  newspaper reported Friday.

Maxwell had 40 receptions for 601 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore, and chose Oregon over San Diego State.

He originally committed to Nevada-Las Vegas out of high school in 2001 but enrolled at DVC (1) (Digital Video Camera) A camcorder that records in digital format. See DV.

(2) (Digital Video Cassette) An earlier term for the DV format. See DV.

(3) See desktop videoconferencing.
 because he was missing a credit for a chemistry class, according to the report.

"I just think this is a blessing and a second chance for me," Maxwell said. "I want all athletes to know that there's always a second chance."
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Title Annotation:UO football: Rodney Woods' acceptance to UO will hinge on whether he can get his charge reduced.; Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1U9OR
Date:Jan 25, 2003
Previous Article:Ducks hire Neal to lead secondary.
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