Posted by Chip Patterson
Clemson's compliance office may believe that things could be quiet around exam time, with players hopefully focused on their studies and the start of bowl practice. But the Tigers' athletic department received a scare when they saw the name of ACC Rookie of the Year Sammy Watkins on a Christmas Party flier (pictured right, click here to enlarge) for a Florida-based restaurant. Watkins' association with a for-profit party like the "Naughty or Nice" themed shindig "Hosted by 239's hottest college football players" would be a violation of NCAA rules.
Luckily Clemson was able to nip this potential eligibility issue in the bud. CBSSports.com's Travis Sawchik reports that the university's compliance office sent a cease-and-desist notice to the restaurant. School spokesperson Tim Bourret "fully expects" Watkins to be available to play on Jan. 4 against West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.
While the Tigers are expecting Watkins to dodge this NCAA eligibility scare, head coach Dabo Swinney is not ready to welcome freshman running back Mike Bellamy back to the team at this point. Unspecified team rules saw Bellamy scratched from the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 3, and Swinney announced on Monday the indefinite suspension would last through the Orange Bowl. The highly-touted running back could be reinstated to the football program in January if he "does the right things," according to Swinney.
Bellamy's future with the Tigers is cloudy, with many reports of his discontent throughout the season only gaining credibility with his absence during Clemson's celebration of success. The coaching staff has been critical of the freshman's attitude and ball control issues, though no one has discredited the speed and natural ability of the Nocatee, Fla. native.
Keep up with all the latest on Clemson and West Virginia at the CBSSports.com Orange Bowl Pregame
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