Sportsmanship

I expect–nay demand–good sportsmanship from college and professional athletes and their fans.

  • It is NOT acceptable that a Miami player punched a North Carolina player in the groin this year.
  • It is NOT acceptable that Aggies vandalized the UT campus over the weekend.
  • It is NOT acceptable that Tech vandalized Aggie buses earlier this year.
  • The other incidents over the years by Tech and Baylor fans to the Aggie campus and community are also completely unacceptable. (Anyone know how much repainting cost on that Aggie barn the Bears painted green a few years ago?) Miami/FIU fighting on the field was embarrassing. (FIU? really?) I’m sure there have been times when Aggies did their fair share of “stuff” to Tech and Baylor, too; I just didn’t live in those towns to hear about it.

I don’t usually hear what punishment is doled out when the vandals are identified/caught. I am grateful to hear that Coach @GoldenAl suspended the Miami player who punched the Tarheel and forced him to perform community service for the day instead of being with the team at the game. If the news story I read is any indication, the guy didn’t learn much, and probably never should have been admitted to Miami in the first place. gah! I’ve always said I’d be a tough coach. I think this player got off easy since it seems he didn’t learn anything from his day of missing a ~big game and serving others.

I don’t know what has to happen to make this nonsense stop, but it is time.

As players (who are students, first, by the way!), those team members represent the school more visibly than just about anyone else. Their behavior on and off field has to be above reproach.[1] If the players don’t want to be “better” than their fellow students, then they need to turn in their jerseys.

Students/alumni/fans also represent their school, and when they participate in these “pranks”, they cost their school money. Do you think A&M paid the bill to have their buses cleaned in Lubbock? ha! We know UT will bill A&M for the $1500 in damages done over the weekend. More importantly than money these illegal acts make the offending school look bad in the media. That translates easily into donations for scholarships and programming, advertising at school-sponsored events, and even the recruiting of future students who now think less of the school. Every little bit, especially in this economy, adds up.

So, unless universities want to turn over their advertising ribbon boards to Krylon, Sherwin-Williams, Graffiti-off, and Lysol, they need to consider putting enough efforts into finding/punishing these students. And, yes, they can punish alumni, if they want: ban them from mailing lists and ticket sales. It’s not much, but it’s something. I don’t know what they could do about rogue fans, but it’s possible that some of them are potential students (don’t let them in!) or have kids who grew up as fans of the school. Hit them where it hurts if you want to put a stop to it. Yes, it’s harsh, (and unfair to the kid if they weren’t involved) but something has to be done to make this stop.

Settle any grievances on the field (and within the rules), like a real rivalry does, not on the campus, the buses, or private property.

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[1] And, no, I don’t care that some of the Miami players got a few lap dances and boat rides. They needed to pay their own way in accordance with NCAA, but I don’t feel the activities themselves are embarrassing. What college-aged guys don’t get lap dances if they want them? It’s a normal right of passage for guys when they turn 21 and not unlike girls hiring a stripper for a bachelorette party.

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