I said it was a “privilege” to play college sports, especially under a full or partial scholarship, and that a crime was committed and the athletes should be suspended indefinitely. Another caller echoed my sentiments; but then a woman (probably a mother) phoned in and accused us of not having ever played a college sport and that these kids not only deserved but were also entitled to a second chance.
First of all, I was a Division I baseball player. I attended an Ivy League university, and these schools do not offer athletic scholarships. I was listening to the radio hosts talking about mistakes. This wasn’t a mistake. A mistake is being late to class or in handing in an assignment. Being arrested for a misdemeanor is not a mistake.
What does this say about society when a college coach allows these students to practice the very next day? How about these disciplinary options:
· Suspend the players for the rest of the season.
· Void their scholarships and kick them out of school.
· Lose one year of athletic eligibility.
Any type of arrest, once proven guilty, should be grounds for serious punishment. There needs to be accountability and consequences. The boys can still go to college. They can apply for financial aid just like any other student. Alternatively, they can transfer to a junior college or other institution after a period of time. But for a caller to shrug this off — like playing a college sport is some irrevocable entitlement — is not only ignorant, but something a parent should never advocate.
Ethics and morality must be integrated into our schools. If we do not make this a priority, we will continue to see spoiled, misguided college athletes who lack a moral compass making bad decisions and expecting their coaches to look the other way. Student athletes should be bound by the same disciplinary code as non-athletes. I hope we see more people speaking out to protest Coach Richt’s poor decision to look the other way and permit the players to practice,
We need a Common Core of ethics and morality because this incident is deeply troubling on so many levels. May it be used as a teachable moment for our children.