Arizona's Stoops apologizes for calling Sun Devils 'a J.C.'

Updated: February 7, 2008, 7:32 PM ET
Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona coach Mike Stoops apologized on Thursday for saying that Arizona State has "turned into a J.C."

"Yesterday in my annual signing day news conference I regretfully made some comments about sister institution Arizona State University," Stoops said in a statement. "These remarks were dutifully reported by the media, and not necessarily taken out of context -- which was within some of my heartfelt observations about the recruiting process and what it entails for individuals and college football programs. But it was a personal mistake and one for which I apologize."

Stoops was not available for further comment.

Stoops apologized for a comment made during a football signing day news conference on Wednesday in Tucson. He said some recruits had told him that it was easier to earn acceptance at ASU than at Arizona.

"Each school has to recruit to that school and what type of academic requirements there are," Stoops said then. "Obviously, Arizona State has turned into a J.C. and we are a four-year college. According to all the players, they say it is easier to go to school there, easier to get in. I thought we had the same requirements. It is news to me."

Even with the apology, Stoops' remarks are sure to turn up the intensity in one of the Pac-10's most bitter rivalries. Tensions between the football programs, located 90 miles apart, grew last month when highly touted tailback Ryan Bass of Corona, Calif., backed out of an oral commitment to Arizona and said he would attend ASU. Bass was among the 27 signees announced by the Sun Devils on Wednesday.

Arizona signed only two players from the state -- seven fewer than Arizona State. The disparity could be a byproduct of ASU's three-game win streak in the Territorial Cup series. Stoops is 1-3 against Arizona State.

Stoops conceded on Wednesday that the Wildcats' recruiting might improve if they defeat ASU more often.

"I am disappointed we didn't sign more kids from the state of Arizona," Stoops said. "When you don't have the success it hurts you probably the closer you are to home.

"They have beat us three years in a row," he said. "We have to go out and beat them and play better than they do, and hopefully we will have a better year recruiting."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press