When a high school prospect agrees to sign with a perspective college or university the parent is entrusting the head coach to look out for the best interest of their child, helping them make the transition to independence and adulthood. Once these kids arrive on campus they undergo hours of orientations to ensure that they adhere to the NCAA policies and do not violate the rules of the institution.
The consequence of violating school or NCAA policies can be costly to an amateur athlete. Former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant was suspended for a year when it was found that he had lied about visiting Deion Sanders home during the summer of his junior year. Brigham Young University forward Brandon Davies lost a year of eligibility when it was discovered that he had pre-marital sex which was a violation of BYU’s code of conduct.
These penalties cost Oklahoma State a chance to contend for a National Championship and stripped BYU of the opportunity to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. However, the message that the NCAA and the institutions were sending was loud and clear: “No one is above the law.”
Even Hall-of-Fame Indiana Coach Bob Knight found himself in front of a coaching firing squad when he was caught on film choking one of his players. Although Knight had coached future NBA Hall-of-famers and won his fair share of conference titles and national championships he was not exempt. But where do we draw the line between tough coaching and abuse?
Who is looking out for the best interest of the college athlete? Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice actions warranted more than just a 3 game suspension and a 50,000 fine. Rice crossed the line when he threw balls at his player’s head, physically assaulted them, and called them obscene names. Rice’s firing will not wash away the stain that went overlooked for three years at Rutgers by athletic director Tim Pernetti who hired Rice.
In order for Rutgers to get a fresh start and regain the trust of the New Jersey community and basketball recruits Pernetti may need to be let go since he failed to look out for the best interest of the athletes who were the true victims in this scandal? Should Pernetti be let go for believing that since there not a line of players outside his door that Rice’s behavior was not grounds for immediate termination back in November? In time the answers to these questions and more will come to light. Stay tuned… I know I will.
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST