The Oklahoma Sooners are worthy of a story today, not because of some off-field indiscretion which is so common this time of year, but instead for a genuine, caring act.
The Sooners signed Tallahassee, Florida tight end Laith Harlow to a National Letter of Intent this past February, in spite of the risk that a back injury he suffered during the middle portion of his senior season at Godby High School could end his football playing career.
Initial speculation was Harlow may be able to return to the field this fall after several months of intensive rehabilitation, but it turns out his injuries are substantial enough that he will never play football again. Regardless, the Sooners have made the decision to honor Harlow’s scholarship by placing him on a medical hardship waiver.
It’s a classy move by Bob Stoops and his staff, who notified Harlow directly of their decision.
Laith Harlow was very grateful to the Sooners, and had the following to say about his decision to attend Oklahoma:
It was my dream to play at Oklahoma, and I did everything I could. I want those great OU fans to know I never gave up hope. I kept trying, but I have to listen to the doctors.
As bad as I feel right now, I can’t just give up on everything. I still have a lot of things that other kids will never have.
Harlow still intends to attend Oklahoma in the fall, and will continue to pursue second opinions in regards to his health and the possibility of eventually being able to put on the pads for the Sooners down the road.
This is simply a case of bad luck for Mr. Harlow and an impressive decision– not without sacrifice– by the Oklahoma staff.
After all, in the cutthroat world of college football, it would have been very easy for Oklahoma to pull Harlow’s scholarship when they were notified he would no longer be physically able to play– after all, it’s well within their rights according to NCAA rules to do so– and that scholarship could have been very valuable.
In this case, however, Oklahoma took the high road and did the right thing.
What a concept.
More articles on Oklahoma’s decision to honor Laith Harlow’s scholarship:
Sooners to honor scholarship of injured 2012 signee: http://bit.ly/JokBmy
Laith Harlow granted hardship: http://es.pn/HTnGQ