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Monday, April 14, 2014: Chad Kelly kicked off Clemson football team

   Leading off today: One guy earned the most prestigious award in amateur athletics over the weekend. The other earned the wrath of Miss South Carolina.

   And thus the football careers of two former Buffalo-area stars came to a close, for now.

   First, the good:

   Penn State lineman John Urschel, likely to be selected next month in the NFL Draft, was named winner of the 84th Sullivan Award during a ceremony at the Amateur Athletic Union national headquarters. The Canisius High graduate beat out Florida track star Cory Ann McGee and Nebraska volleyball player Kelsey Robinson for the honor, which goes to an athlete demonstrating the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship and the spirit of amateurism.

   "He is a great ambassador to football, Penn State and all aspiring amateur athletes," said National Football Foundation President Steve Hatchell. "He is first class in every way and absolutely deserving of this recognition."

   Urschel, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten pick, earned his degree in three years, added a master's degree during his fourth year and is on schedule to complete another degree next month.

   The low note of the week arrived Monday when former Buffalo St. Joe's quarterback Chad Kelly, the NYSSWA's Class AA player of the year in 2011, was kicked off the Clemson football team by head coach Dabo Swinney, who cited "conduct detrimental to our program. He has had a pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of our program."

   Kelly, a sophomore who was in a three-way battle to replace Tajh Boyd as the starter for the 2014 season, was benched the second half of the Tigers' spring game Saturday after throwing two interceptions and then reportedly getting into a confrontation on the field with two coaches.

   "I hope he will mature and grow from this and become the man and player I know he can be," Swinney said. "I wish him nothing but the best in the future academically and athletically."

   Kelly's career might have survived the locker room confrontations if not for a fender-bender two days earlier involving Ali Rogers, who earned the title of Miss South Carolina in 2012. After numerous inquiries about the rumored incident, Rogers spilled the beans on Twitter:

   Last Thursday night, (Kelly) was riding with someone who backed into my car in my apartment complex," she wrote. "I said I was going to call the police to file the proper report, and Chad got out of the car asking me not to call. He became very agitated and was extremely disrespectful.

   "As proud as I am to be part of the Clemson Football program, it was very disheartening that he showed no remorse for his behavior. Chad's words and actions do not reflect what our coaches have worked so hard to instill in

  
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our players. As Coach Swinney stated earlier today, 'Chad has had a pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of our program.' This incident was simply another example, but not the reason he was dismissed from the team.

   "I hate all this has happened and wish Chad all the best."

   Boys lacrosse: The New York State Sportswriters Association has released its first boys lacrosse rankings of the season tonight, with Chaminade (Class A), Yorktown (B) and Cazenovia (C) holding down the No. 1 spots.

   We're expecting to star baseball and girls lacrosse rankings next weekend.

   Displaced for a year: Monster trucks have driven the 2015 Section 3 basketball finals out of the Carrier Dome and into Onondaga Community College's SRC Arena, The Post-Standard reported Monday.

   The boys and girls finals, held at the Dome since 2012, are the victim of a scheduling conflict with the Monster Jam truck series, a popular attraction already locked into a March 7 date.

   With the NYSPHSAA semifinals and finals set for March 20-22, Section 3 will need to play its finals March 6-8.

   "There's always a 'Wow' factor of playing in the Dome," said Bishop Grimes girls coach John Cifonelli, who is also the assistant sectional coordinator for the sport. "There's a mystique to the Dome. It's one of the most famous basketball facilities in the country."


  
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