Thursday, October 14, 2010

UGA, Party On, Dawgs!


I may have been the rat who left the sinking ship before anyone else knew there was a hole in the bottom of it. That’s where the expression came from, if the people in the upper decks started seeing rats jumping off the boat then there that was a sign of serious problem down below, and the University of Georgia seems to be headed for the very bottom of morality as if lead weights were attached to the campus.

Athens made it to the top of the list of America’s party schools and that seemed downright funny until their Athletic Director, a guy named Evans,  got a DUI the night his half million a year contract was to begin. It was that infamous “red panties” incident where he told the arresting officer he was holding his girlfriend’s red panties because she had given them to him. I suspect his wife was not as amused over the story as was the public, but considering the University gave him a three hundred thousand dollar severance check, it wasn’t nearly as funny as it had begun. Evans was already famous for his pregame anti DUI PSA’s.
Slowly but surely the University of Georgia’s football team has drank their way out of a season. There have been arrests for drinking, stealing, resisting arrest, and all manner of weirdness until you could actually field a football team from the players who have been arrested or suspended this season alone. The hits just keep on coming with one player being accused of not showing up for a traffic stop, and another stealing a scooter helmet recently.
In theory, student athletes are just like everyone else on campus, except they seem to think they are above the law. Why on earth would this motion enter their heads? Evans, while he was being arrested told the cops he didn’t want to start any trouble but he was the AD at UGA. His girlfriend made sure the cops knew that, as if that fact was going to be enough to make it all go away. At the very top of the program there is an assumption of transcendence. If you are part of the UGA football program you’re above all the rest of the world, and the worldly laws do not apply to your actions.
I’m going to make some wild assumptions here. I’m going to make some shots in the dark, and you tell me if I’m making any sense at all. I’m thinking by the time someone playing football at the University of Georgia gets to the point they’ve been suspended or disciplined in some way, there have already been some minor infractions building up.  I’m thinking if there are eleven guys who have been kicked off the team, suspended for misbehavior, arrested, or all of the above, there are eleven more that have been caught, scolded, and more or less allowed to keep on keeping on. If the rules were really so tight the school was punishing first offenders as much as it appears, wouldn’t these young men learn from the examples for those who have already been caught? I think they have learned, and what they have learned is being a good football player means you really have to go out and get caught doing something big to get punished a little. I think, and again I’m guessing here, there is a system in place to protect the guilty up until the point it has already gotten way out of hand.
Can you explain to me why eleven players, to this date, have been suspended or kicked off the team, or in some way disciplined, not to mention the very top dog, er, Dawg, who stood there and laid claim to his newly anointed title as a defense for driving drunk? Is there any reason at all to believe anything other than football player being led to believe, taught in fact, they are above the law and all of the rules? Clearly, the Athletic Director being arrested has not affected nearly a dozen of them. They do not seem to care. Why is this?

The University of Georgia seems to be drunk on failure. So totally misguided and wrecked is this institution’s mission, which I am assuming is education, there are students and employees who have simply given up on there being any semblance of order and are drinking themselves through college and out of a job. So far, the only talk I’ve heard about righting the ship is the talk of firing the head coach because they aren’t winning any games. What on earth would they be talking about if they hadn’t lost a game all season? If this was a team with a perfect record would anyone at all care how many players were suspended or arrested, and would anyone care why? How many games will they have to win this season to save the coach’s job, and more importantly, how many will they have to lose before anyone realizes there is something far worse than losing football games?
There is, isn’t there, something far worse than losing football games?

College football is a multibillion dollar industry where the players get no direct reimbursement for their efforts and that is wrong. The results of this system is everyone connected with the game, from sponsors to television stations, to tee shirt manufacturers, to the beer industry is making million upon millions of dollars each season. The young men on the field get nothing for this. This is wrong. Yet what they are given is the feeling because they are wronged, and because they are the workers in a multibillion dollar industry, they are entitled to something. They ought to be getting something out of this, right? By and large, the men and women who are supposed to be educating these young men, also think this is true, and the student body likely agrees with these thoughts.
This will eventually lead to drunk driving, theft, unpaid speeding tickets, and very likely, more serious crimes as things get worse, and the stakes get higher.

Take Care,
Mike

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