Mr. College Football, Tony Barnhart weighs in on the discipline issue in college football. Here are a few interesting points:
While the fans the media see a freshman left tackle or a sophomore running back who just violated team rules and embarrassed himself and the program, the coaches and the school see somebodyâ€™s child. At some point in the recruitment of that player, a coach sat in a living room and promised a parent or a guardian that their child would be treated fairly both on the field and off.
Thatâ€™s something most people forget. These are still immature, young adults. We should treat people fairly. And like someone reminded me last night, we should treat them the way we would want to be treated.
But remember this. All of us, the media included, have created this system that starts holding these guys up to public scrutiny and praise before they are old enough to shave. We have created a system where high school children are having signing day press conferences on ESPN. Mostâ€”the vast majority in factâ€”have the maturity to handle it. Some donâ€™t.
Rashad Johnsonâ€™s arrest wouldnâ€™t be news without football. Whatâ€™s more, the latest incident on the Strip would be a footnote in the about 600 arrests per year. (According to Ray Melickâ€™s column in the Birmingham News there were 581 arrests on the strip in 2007.)
Speaking of Melickâ€™s column, he has gone off the deep end attacking over-signing in recruiting, and today calling for NCAA or SEC regulation of player discipline.
I guess he didnâ€™t like being criticized by Big Ten fans for a column he wrote about Nick Saban. He was accused of wearing a tinfoil hat by one Michigan blogger. So Melick has to show he’s tough and independent.
There is a clear conflict of interest at work when a head coach whose multimillion dollar salary that depends on certain players being on the field is also charged with discipline of those players. It has gotten to the point that such discipline needs to be taken over by someone else, be it the athletic department, the university, or a conference-wide policy that takes it out of the coaches’ hands.
Melick’s idea is to get bureaucrats and idiotic academics to regulate discipline.
Iâ€™d rather deal with the IRS than the pointy-headed NCAA. If anyone is foolish enough to believe the NCAA would make the situation better, they havenâ€™t been watching athletics for the last half-century. Iâ€™m sure the NCAA would do as good a job on this as it has done fighting student gambling, or that Major League Baseball has done fighting steroids.