A Disturbing Trend: Watch Out Bo Pelini

Josh KleinCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2009

You either had to be living in a hole or completely immersed by the Christmas spirit to not know what has happened over the last few days.

What started out as a seemingly isolated incident with Mark Mangino and the Kansas football program may be turning into a trend with the addition of Mike Leach to the mix.

What am I talking about?

The apparent unethical or cruel treatment of players.

Anybody who has played football, either at the Pop Warner level or into college and even the NFL, will tell you that coaches aren't there to be your friend. They aren't there to be your confidant. They are there to make you a better football player.  

And sometimes, they are there to instill a better work ethic and sometimes help point you in the right direction.

In fact, oftentimes, coaches can seem downright mean, getting on their players about being out of position or missing a tackle.

It is this quality, though, that makes for good coaching, or at least it used to.

Most student-athletes will not end up going to the NFL; some may go to Canada, but all in all, most student athletes will graduate and pursue a career in an area other than sports.

Most student-athletes will become managers, construction engineers, some even will become doctors. The point is, they will enter the real world.

And coaches are responsible, just as much as the classroom, for preparing them for the unfair, competitive, and even ugly environments that they will be thrust into right out of college.

Life isn't fair. People are selfish and mean by nature, especially when it comes to business.

Sometimes you will be poked in the chest, sometimes people will insult you personally for their own gain, sometimes life is just going to suck, and, more often than not, you are just going to have to deal with it.

For a long time, college football was an apt ground for cultivating these types of successful student-athletes. Coaches could be ruthless in their game-planning and in the expectations put upon their student-athletes.

Slowly but surely, though, the relationship has deteriorated into what it has become today—a disconnected relationship with blurred lines of how far is too far.

Just a few short years ago, Bob Knight was only reprimanded for clocking a kid in the chin when he wouldn't listen to him on the basketball court.

From that seemingly inconsequential incident, we have quickly skidded down a slippery slope of overprotective media based parental figures who decide for coaches and parents how far too far really is.

I remember playing football in high school, the countless times the coach would grab my face mask to make sure I was paying attention to him or poke me in the chest just to be sure he got his point across. 

Not once did I feel abused or neglected.

I'm not saying these investigations shouldn't take place, mostly because, like the schools, I don't know the whole story.

Should coaches be allowed to physically abuse their players? No.

Should they be allowed to get their point across physically? I believe so.

But in a culture of hyper-sensitivity to anything that may be construed as malicious behavior, it is hard to tell where the line is drawn.

If Mike Leach can falter for "unethical" treatment of a player and Mangino is called out on verbal abuse of players, my question is, "How long does Bo have?"

Bo Pelini may have the shortest fuse of any head coach standing on the sidelines in college football.  No doubt he often hurls curse-laced insults at referees, coaches, and players alike.

It's this same fire and passion, though, that makes Bo Pelini a good coach.  It's this same resolve to never quit that makes him good at what he does, but how far is too far?

Mark Mangino was labeled for his weight, Mike Leach for is odd behavior and antics. Bo Pelini has been labeled for his temper—especially after the Big 12 championship game.

What happens, Nebraska fans, if the Huskers' football team suddenly falls to 6-6 next season. What will come out of the woodwork then? Will players speak out against Pelini as Jayhawk players did against Mangino?

It's a question that we really should ask ourselves as fans.  

I think most Nebraska fans want Bo around and don't want to even consider the possibility of an investigation that would not only hamper recruiting, but also cripple a program.

Nebraska's success is walking on egg shells right now, and the last thing the Husker Nation would want or need would be an investigation for the treatment of players.

Since the Big 12 seems to be the breeding ground for this hyper-sensitivity, I hope that Bo will watch out and keep his hands to himself.

This disturbing anomaly looks to be turning into a Big 12 trend, and our coach could be next.  Stop the oversensitive bull guys, this is football. Man up.

I hope the players at Nebraska think this is as ridiculous as I do. 


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