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Grothe arrested for serving booze to minor

27

April

Grothe USF quarterback Matt Grothe, last year's Big East Rookie of the Year, was arrested last week while working at a Bulls-themed sports bar and faces a misdemeanor charge of selling alcohol to an underage person.

Grothe, 20, was working behind the bar April 19 at the Bull Ring Sports Bar near USF's campus on Fowler Ave., when he served two Corona Extras to an 18-year-old who was working with officers from the state's Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.

Grothe's arrest is unlikely to result in any significant disciplinary action from coach Jim Leavitt, and legally should not amount to more than probation and community service. But it seems USF was unaware the most prominent athlete on campus was working at least occasionally in a job serving alcohol at a place that USF encourages its fans and boosters to congregate.

"I had heard something happened, but I didn't know what. He’s not there anymore," Leavitt said Friday.

Asked if he had known Grothe was working there, Leavitt said he did not, and when asked if anyone at USF knew, he said "(I'm) unsure. But somebody is supposed to."

Several Bulls coaches host their radio shows at the Bull Ring, a restaurant and bar is part of USF's "Bull Country" network of area businesses, catering to USF fans and featuring Bulls decorations prominently.

Grothe's employment there in itself is neither illegal nor in violation of NCAA bylaws. Anyone over the age of 18 in Florida can legally serve alcohol in a licensed establishment, and NCAA rules do not limit a job a scholarship athlete can hold, so long as he is paid appropriately for actual work.

Grothe, who did not return messages Friday seeking comment, was USF's offensive MVP as a redshirt freshman last year after leading the Bulls to a 9-4 record and the program's first bowl victory. He engineered three come-from-behind victories in September and established himself a playmaker, passing for 2,576 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushing for 622 yards and nine scores.

Check Saturday’s Times for more information on this story. Times writer Greg Auman can be reached at auman@sptimes.com.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 11:25am]

    

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