The latest on the ongoing Marcell Dareus situation comes from the Tuscaloosa News:
University of Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus has been declared ineligible and is believed to be the only UA player who attended a party in Miami hosted by a sports agent, a source close to the situation told The Tuscaloosa News.
UA will petition immediately for the reinstatement of Dareus' eligibility. The NCAA will make the ultimate ruling on when, or if, Dareus will be reinstated. It is standard procedure for a player to be declared ineligible immediately whenever a question of whether the player violated NCAA rules arises.
Editor's Note: Emphasis is obviously mine on Dareus being the only one to attend the party. Great news for UA.
Don't let any of this surprise you, I fully expected this to be the next step all along, and this does not mean that any definite conclusions have been made on what Dareus may or may not have done. This is simply the administrative process unfolding as expected.
Again, as I wrote yesterday, UA compliance is going to be proactive as possible on this, and as part of exercising as much cautious as possible on this situation, they will declare Dareus ineligible until when and if he is reinstated by the NCAA. Simply put, we are not going to allow a kid with eligibility questions to play and thereby possibly dangle the sword of Damocles above our heads, we'll make the NCAA sign off on him. This is nothing out of the normal, it's standard operating procedure, just like we did last year with Julio Jones and Mark Ingram. Furthermore, almost certainly, Dareus should be able to participate with the team in Fall camp just like Jones and Ingram did a year ago, so if he is cleared at some point he should be able to step in immediately without missing a beat.
With all of the aforementioned covered, some potential good news is somewhat buried in that article:
Austin's alleged agent involvement, according to the source, is of a more serious nature than that of Dareus.
If nothing else, that sounds positive. It goes without saying that the smaller the value of anything that Dareus may have accepted (if anything), the better the situation is for him and his likelihood of returning in 2010. Hopefully if Dareus did accept anything of value, those benefits are limited to a simple flight and hotel, at which point Dareus could likely pay restitution and have his eligibility reinstated. If nothing else, this situation could be much worse.