The Birmingham News provided a look at the debate over athletic dorms for student-athletes. Who were the biggest proponents? Football coaches. Coaches like Pat Dye.
Hereâ€™s what the Auburn legend had to say:
“I don’t think you have to go any further than just look at the service academies,” he said. “I would say you get as high a quality education at the Naval Academy or at West Point or the Air Force Academy as you can get anywhere in America. Those are very disciplined environments.
“They supposedly made this ruling because they wanted the student-athlete to mix and mingle with other students on campus. You can take a swimmer or a football player or a golfer competing at the college level and you can try all you want to make them a normal student, but they are not normal students. They are up at 5 in the morning swimming or on the golf course all afternoon.
“Some kids are mature enough and come from a disciplined home environment and are perfectly capable of living in an apartment and doing what they are supposed to do,” Dye said. “Another percentage of them … fall into bad company and end up doing some bad things.”
Opponents of athletic dorms? Academic types. Tommy Tuberville. And UAâ€™s media relations.
Hereâ€™s a sample of what they had to say:
Doug Walker, the University of Alabama’s associate athletics director for media relations, said the athletic department supports the NCAA’s decision about mainstreaming athletes.
“We do believe in the principle that mainstreaming is good for the student-athlete,” he said. “No matter how you house people or what policy you create, ultimately behavior is up to the individual. We try to help them do the right thing and to help them have the right influences around them.
Right. Anytime someone says, â€œWe support the NCAAâ€™s decision…â€ you can smell the BS.
And Mr. Tubervilleâ€™s stance on the matter:
“I’ve been through full athletic dorms and 50 percent athletic dorms and it hasn’t made a lot of difference,” he said. “We let the older players live off campus as a reward. The ones who we think need a little bit more supervision academically may live in the dorms.
The BS detector should go off here too. Tuberville says the demise of athletic dorms hasnâ€™t made a difference, yet in his own statement he affirms he requires borderline students to live in dormsâ€”in an environment more controlled than off campus.
So, which is it Tommy?
I think the UA statement and the AU statement are simply products of the current environment. Neither school wanted to take a stick to the anthill known as the NCAA.
But listening to what Dye has to say is important. You get a lot of borderline characters at SEC schools. (Yes this includes Auburn. And all this pompous nonsense about AU recruits persons of character will one day wash away in a spate of arrestsâ€”*cough*Clifton Robinson*cough*.) This is the nature of modern college football. It is the nature of modern sport.
If you are going to hold coaches accountable for the behavior of their athletes, you should give them the tools to control those athletes.