Alabama head coach Nick Saban has helped the Tide set the standard for excellence in college football over the last five seasons. Unfortunately, Saban must now set the standard for discipline in college football by permanently dismissing four of his athletes from his football program.
A total of four Alabama football players were arrested Monday. Three were charged with second-degree robbery and another with fraudulent use of a credit card.
All either freshmen or redshirt freshmen in 2012, Tyler Hayes, Eddie Williams, Brent Calloway and D.J. Pettway now find their careers with the Tide uncertain.
I will opt not to harp on the finer details of this story as they are still continuing to develop.
I will say this, though. If, after the proper due process is followed, the charges against these young men stand, it is my opinion that they should all be permanently dismissed from the Alabama football program.
This is surely an opinion that many will disagree with but please allow me to explain why I feel this way.
Whether we as Crimson Tide football supporters like it or not, the Alabama football program has dealt with its share of black eyes. NCAA sanctions, probations and bowl bans have been a part of our program for roughly 20 years now.
The reputation we like to claim is not exactly equal to the perception that the rest of the college football world has of us.
Going all the way back to the days of legendary coach "Bear" Bryant, Alabama has been known as a program that will bend every rule in half and find every possible way to get an upper hand on the competition at all costs.
We don't have to like it, but it's 100 percent true. That is what the outsiders see us as.
When coach Saban came to Tuscaloosa, the Tide program was one in total despair. Instead of bowl games, we got to play Hawaii. Losing seasons had become an unfortunate regularity. Seeing the mugshot of a Tide player on the evening news was commonplace.
Saban changed all of that. From the moment he stepped off the plane, Saban set the standard.
He demanded nothing more or less than excellence. He demanded it from himself. He demanded it of his players and his coaches. He preached endlessly about "doing it the right way."
It didn't take long for his football program to snap into shape. The arrests all but ended. So did the losing.
In the past five seasons, Alabama detractors have been force-fed excellence and have had to swallow their pride when unable to point to anything concrete that the Tide has done wrong.
Now, with a program that has suffered through more than a few embarrassments and plays in a conference that has a reputation for being "dirty", Saban needs to set yet another standard.
Again, if the arrests stand and the players are proven guilty, they should be dismissed from the 'Bama football team.
I know many of you will argue that they are just kids and that they deserve a second chance rather than to be shunned and sent on their way. They will get a second chance. It just doesn't need to be at Alabama.
Others will ask me if my harsh opinion on this issue would be the same if it were T.J. Yeldon or A.J. McCarron in trouble. Honestly, I probably would feel different about it. But I am a fan. Fans get to make irrational decisions like that.
Having said that, I would also respect Saban's decision to dismiss the players even if they were stars rather than mere freshmen with potential. I would also take pride in knowing that our coach is so dedicated to winning the right way that he would treat all players the same, regardless of their role on the field.
So let's let this whole ordeal play out. If the charges are proven to be false, no problem. If they stick, dismiss them and send a message on behalf of the entire SEC conference that crimes committed by student athletes will not be tolerated.
As much as the rest of the country jealously hates Alabama and the SEC already, imagine what it would do to them if we continue to win every national title while not being shy about our zero tolerance policy on arrests.
C'mon, Coach. If the kids are found guilty, do the right thing and do it the right way. Players who do not respect "The Process" have no business being a part of it.