5 Ways College Football Programs Can Limit Exposure to Player Scandal
Photo credit: CBSSports.com Freshman Eddie Williams, along with three other freshman, were dismissed from the team following a February 11 arrest.
The world of college football is no stranger to scandals. Coaches have done their best to shield players from trouble. Recently, four Alabama football players were released from the team due to their heinous actions against a fellow student.
Football programs are tightening the reins now more than ever. It's imperative for players to stay disciplined and focused. They are athletes, but they are students first. Their performance as a student is just as important. That being said, college football programs must carry out guidelines to keep players out of trouble.
Here are five ways football programs can limit this exposure, and keep their players on the straight and narrow.
South Carolina WR D.L. Moore
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History will repeat itself, and any player who has a criminal past shouldn't be taken lightly. Recruiting the best is fine and dandy, but if a criminal past is overlooked, it becomes a serious problem. This behavior should not be tolerated.
According to Sports Illustrated, in 2011, background checks were rare for football programs. In fact, only TCU and Oklahoma performed a regular criminal background check. Seven percent of the players in the preseason Top 25 had a criminal record; dozens of them had multiple arrests.
It is up to the football program to discern the player's character at present. In doing that, it won't hurt to take into account any criminal activity. Background checks should be done at every football program. Your recruit may look great, but this can change in the blink of an eye.
No football program wants negative attention. Background checks will help curb scandals once a player is on the team. While a player's past shouldn't determine his future, it might imply his future actions.
Bring Them Down to Earth
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Too many times players have gotten caught up in their new-found fame. It is so easy to become wrapped up in the notoriety. This can lead to a player wishing to live above the law.
And we know what happens next.
This is where a coach's influence is needed most in the growth of a player's character. Maturation and time have a lot to do with humbling a player. But from the start, a coach must show his player he is no different from every other player. It will do good if he reminds him that he is still a student.
Coaches must teach their players to behave like any other college student. Players are not immune to the consequences of breaking the law. They shouldn't take the law lightly. Breaking down immense pride will be tough but necessary to keep players out of trouble.
Show Them Who's the Boss
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No matter how talented a player is, if he's done something wrong, he has to suffer the consequences. Football programs get caught up in winning a game, putting a player's integrity on the back burner.
This will only lead to more scandals. A coach has to show the player that he's the honcho and trouble isn't taken lightly. Football programs can no longer allow offenses to slide to win a game. If the programs begin to care more for the player, then trouble is less likely to surface.
Teach the player discipline, and he's less likely to stray. Let him run free, and expect mischief.
Tighten the Reins
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As if they weren't tight enough, football programs need to rein in their players. A player's freedom shouldn't be taken away, but they must realize their commitment to the program. They have a responsibility.
Curfews, if not already in place, should be in effect. Even if they're only on the weekends, curfews will curb the curiosity that can lead to criminal activity. Players should live up to a standard of integrity and conduct.
Players are entering into a contract with the football program. It makes sense to ask they behave with forthrightness. It isn't asking a lot considering what the player has to gain.
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A coach's relationship with his players is so important. If they are absent from their players' lives, it will be easy for the player to slip away. Coaches should take interest in their players, not view them as a boost to their paycheck.
If a coach develops a close relationship with his player, he will feel at ease. He will come to his coach with any problems. He has to know his coach cares for him not only as a player, but also as a college student.
And coaches have to recognize their players are more than just that. There's more at stake than a bid to the NFL. A coach has the ability to influence his players. He should take the opportunity to invest in them.