B.J. Vickers was the biggest star on the Santa Monica College football team the last two years – a swift, talented receiver who was recruited by many Division 1 schools.
“Recruited by everyone,”’ said Coach Robert Taylor.
But Vickers was ruled ineligible at Arizona this season, pulled off the team just before the first game even after earning a starting position in training camp. Arizona will play USC in the Coliseum Saturday but Vickers won’t be participating.
The reason came out last weekend when the Tucson Citizen newspaper reported that Santa Monica College revoked Vickers’ associate of arts degree because he received fraudulent credit after taking two classes at Los Angeles Trade Tech.
The newspaper quoted SMC Information Officer Bruce Smith saying degrees were revoked from several other students following an investigation of the Trade Tech courses, although he couldn’t comment on specifics due to privacy rules.
“The deal was you go to class a couple of days and that was pretty much it,” Vickers told the newspaper. “Then you got the grade.
“I know this is wrong. I was not thinking at the time. I have learned from my mistakes.”
Vickers is retaking the courses – Algebra and English 102 – at Pima Community College in Arizona and is likely to be offered a scholarship at another school. But the Pac-10 Conference has ruled he won’t be able to play for any of its members.
Vickers combines size with speed. He’s 6-foot-2 and became known for making yardage after receptions when he starred at Venice High. He picked the University of Louisville but didn’t qualify academically and enrolled at Santa Monica College.
In two seasons at SMC, he caught 67 passes for more than 1500 yards and 22 touchdowns.
The quarterback was David Koral, who is now at UCLA. Koral threw to Geoff McArthur at Palisades High and McArthur went on to become an All-American at California. In an interview with The Mirror last season, Koral compared Vickers favorably with McArthur as a talent.
“We have to find a way to get the ball to Vickers,”’ said Arizona Coach Mike Stoops before the player was ruled ineligible.
Vickers enjoyed his brief stay at Arizona.
“I wish I could come back,’’ he said. “I have friends at the school and no enemies. I’m happy with the coaches. They still call to see how I’m doing.’”One school reportedly interested in Vickers is Mississippi State, who is also recruiting present Venice High running back Kenny Ashley. But Vickers said he is not ready to make a decision.