Offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb is the latest — but probably not the last — junior college recruit to fizzle out academically before arriving at Arizona.
Although Arizona Wildcats coach Mike Stoops said this week that Webb's departure will not change the way his program recruits junior college players, it may alter the type of student-athletes the team pursues in the future.
The UA's academic policies make the program a better fit for players who are full qualifiers out of high school or those on track to graduate from junior college.
Arizona signed eight junior college players for the 2008 season. Except for Webb, all were either full qualifiers or on track to receive associate degrees.
"We're always going to try to go after junior college players that make us better, but our academic requirements are different here than at a lot of schools," Stoops said, referring to state guidelines.
"We have to have kids that want to be successful here in school as well. We want a guy who wants to be here for all the right reasons, not just football."
The Wildcats follow the NCAA's minimum requirements for junior college transfers, with a few wrinkles. The UA does not allow transfer credits in which an athlete received lower than a C grade to count toward the 48 transferrable units needed to enroll.
"That's university policy. That's state policy," Stoops said.
UA's degree options might be the bigger culprit. The university does not offer many of the catch-all majors — general studies chief among them — that make transferring simpler.
Players who do not qualify academically out of high school or previously played at a Division I program must prove they have completed 40percent of the coursework needed for their major before being admitted to the UA, said Bill Morgan, the university's director of compliance. The more academically challenging the major, the tougher some of the prerequisites are.
"Some of our degree programs are, for lack of a better term, more difficult than offerings at some other institutions," Morgan said.
Arizona's added requirements complicate an already tricky process. The NCAA's requirements for junior college transfers vary depending on each athlete's academic standing coming out of high school.
Athletes who qualify out of high school need to prove they earned 12 credits per semester to transfer. Nonqualifiers must take 48 transferrable credits, carry a 2.0 GPA and earn associate degrees.
And then there are players like Webb, called "4-2-4" players because they start at a four-year school, transfer to a junior college and then commit to another four-year program.
All "4-2-4" players must graduate from junior college with a 2.0 GPA and 48 transferrable credits while finishing 40 percent of the prerequisites for their designated majors.
It appears Webb — who played his freshman year at the University of Texas before transferring to Navarro Junior College — fell short of the credits needed to transfer.
"He's not here, and I haven't heard from him," Stoops said Monday. "I'm not counting on him."
● The team will attend a Sierra Vista fundraiser on Aug. 16, with proceeds benefiting the Sunrise Rotary Club. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. at Fort Huachuca's Thunder Mountain Activity Center. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling Bill Hansen at (520) 803-0452.
● The UA is offering a discounted season ticket package geared toward recent graduates. Alumni who graduated between 2006 and 2008 will receive a 15percent discount on season tickets, with a maximum of two per graduate. Call 621-2287.