By Kyle Killgore
A few weeks ago, Miami’s head football coach, Randy Shannon, was fired for not winning enough football games. In his four seasons at Miami, Shannon turned the program around from being one of the dirtiest programs in the country, to being one of the top programs in graduating their players, while cleaning up the off-the-field activities.
As some may remember, prior to Shannon being hired, Miami was known for several players being busted with drugs and weapons charges. The thug-like atmosphere was also present on the field. One of the biggest brawls in any sport I have ever seen involved the University of Miami against Florida International in 2006, the season before Shannon took over as head coach.
In Shannon’s career at Miami, he has struggled as a coach, going 28-22 over the last four seasons. In his time there he never won a bowl game, and never finished better than second in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
What Shannon was able to accomplish was a graduation rate only surpassed by the Air Force and Naval academies on the national stage. Shannon graduated most of his players rather than let them drop out or go to jail. In fact, in Shannon’s tenure only one player got arrested, a significant decrease from the years prior.
What I’m struggling to grasp is the message that this sends to Miami’s players, and all collegiate players for that matter. Is having class and respecting the world around you a bad thing now? Is keeping players out of trouble and in the classroom dreaded rather than celebrated?
I understand that in Shannon’s contract there may be a clause stating that he has to win a certain amount of games, or a certain number of bowl games. Miami still had a winning record in Shannon’s tenure. But because they were not competing for a national championship, he is fired. Because Shannon didn’t fill the 73,000 seat stadium, he is gone
What this is telling me, though, is if you are good at sports, it does not matter what kind of integrity you show off the field as long as you are successful on the field. Going to class? Who needs that? Obviously Miami players don’t, because the person who has recruited the players who will go to class and stay out of trouble is gone.
I fear the day that such an event occurs at Southwestern. The coaches and the student athletes seem to have a strong grasp of the academic value that is offered at Southwestern. Many coaches have their players go to study groups or tutors to maintain academic excellence throughout the program. Grade checks seem to be a constant for the athletes here. Coaches keep a tab on their players.
None of this is to say that the next coach at Miami won’t be a stand up guy or graduate most of his players. This is questioning the morality of college sports today. What would the University of Miami give up to compete for a national championship again?
Kyle Killgore is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at email@example.com