At the NHRA US Nationals
Has it really come down to this?
Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English is willing to skydive if the school can raise $60,000 to upgrade its team's bathrooms, according to an ESPN report:
English has pledged to skydive if EMU can raise at least $60,000 through its golf outing June 8 and other donations. Those who donate $5,000 will get to spend a day with English and staff members and skydive with him.
That money will go toward re-tiling the bathrooms in the team's locker room and updating the fixtures and stalls.
If the floors and walls need to be re-tiled, does that mean there are cracks or exposed jagged edges? If so, that's a safety concern and no coach should have to go diving for dollars to repair the problems.
But what is more concerning is that this splashy fund-raising idea didn't come from English.
It won't be the first time English has gone skydiving. Two years ago he took the leap with the U.S. Army Golden Knights in southeast Michigan.
He wasn't necessarily looking to do it again, but the marketing firm Eastern Michigan uses suggested it.
Is diving for dollars a good or bad idea?
The school's marketing firm suggested the skydiving?
If something were to happen—any incident involving skydiving rarely ends well—there could be major civil litigation if injury or death occurred. Is this a good idea when the school apparently can't even afford to put in new bathroom fixtures?
Coaches do a lot of risky things. Washington State head coach Mike Leach likes to scuba dive. But would Washington State ever suggest Leach go diving where great white sharks are known to congregate? And would any fan feel comfortable donating to that cause knowing a head coach is risking his life?
Skydiving is classified as an extreme sport—it has a high degree of inherent danger. Asking anyone to risk his life for money is disturbing—even if he enjoys the sport. Let him do it on his own time.
English says "we need the money." Every head coach is responsible for fund raising, but that usually is done through booster club appearances. Not jumping out of a plane with a nylon parachute strapped to your back as you hurtle toward Earth.
Eastern Michigan needs to come up with a new idea. The risks are too great for the school.