COMMENTARY: College rosters need an overhaul

FORGET ABOUT THE economic bailouts -- what's being done about the incredible shrinking college football athlete? There's an epidemic going on across the board, from receivers to quarterbacks to defensive linemen to corners and beyond. They're getting smaller. It's true, players moving towards their pro dreams are losing inches and pounds faster than a lumbering ox in a phone booth.

We're speaking of course about many of the departing collegians who went to the NFL combine. Like dandelion spores in the wind, so many heights and weights suddenly decreased from their previously listed measurables once they get to Indianapolis.

Take QB Mark Sanchez, whom some are predicting goes No. 1 in the NFL Draft. For three years at USC he was listed at 6-foot-3. Except for his freshman season of 2005, when he was listed on the USC roster at 6-4.

Turns out at the NFL combine he measured in at 6-2. How do you lose two inches coming out of high school?

James Laurinaitis was listed at 6-3 on The Ohio State University's roster. Well, better get Thee to a ruler store, he's 6-1, 7/8ths according to the NFL.

Florida State's Everette Brown is figured by many to be the first defensive end taken in the draft. He was listed at 6-4 on the FSU roster the last four years.

He measured 6-foot-2 in Indy.

Someone get NASA on the phone. Tell them to bring their slide rules. We've got a physics problem that needs solving.

While there are indeed those who have been listed mostly accurately on their college rosters, and the weights offer less of a disparity that do heights, inflated measurables are still peppered throughout the list of college names looking to move on to NFL careers.

The Trojans' Rey Maualuga was 6-3 for a few years, then dropped to 6-2 but gained enough muscle and mass to reach 260 pounds according to the USC site. He doesn't quite reach 250 pounds and he doesn't quite stand 6-foot-2 according to the NFL.

Cal linebacker Anthony Felder was 6-4 and later 6-3 on Cal rosters. He's actually 6-2.

Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree went from 6-3 down to 6-1. Wake Forrest's Aaron Curry went from 6-3 down to 6-2. Pat White went from 6-1 on the West Virginia roster down to 6-0 at the combine.

For years, we were operating under the assumption when the Civil War came around that Jarius Byrd was 6-foot. At Indianapolis, he somehow lost two inches down to 5-10.

And Oregon State is not immune here. Sammie Stroughter was listed at 6-0 this past season. He measured in at 5-9 at the combine.

Imagine what some of the college players measure in at who aren't going onto a career in pro ball.

Don't blame the schools. They have to keep up with the Joneses and virtually everyone fudges at least some of the numbers. It's been going on for years.

And if you were to have the only 100 percent accurate roster in all of college football, you're going to look small.

It would take a crackdown by the NCAA for schools to put up, on every single player, true heights and weights.

Until then, it will be 5-10-15 pounds or more here, an inch or two or three over there.

This is actually one area where the NCAA, an organization whose convoluted and arbitrary decisions too often test the boundaries of reason, should be more rigid. And therefore, it will probably never happen.

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