Thursday, October 15, 2009

We interrupt this regularly scheduled programming... bring you a quasi-rant. The rest of the season preview is coming (Midnight Madness is Friday, so I PROMISE I will get on the ball--no pun intended. Ha!). Right now, I have to say that keeping up with these college basketball headlines is kind of depressing. In the grand scheme of things, most players in any sport are truly good kids, but the plethora of ugly incidents leaves much to be desired.

First, we have the Pitino situation and his extortion trial (he has a right not to be extorted, but the circumstances which led to the lawsuit are less than admirable), then we have Bingampton players selling drugs, Purdue, Kansas and Louisville players being arrested--I mean, really?

I understand that no one is perfect. People make mistakes, poor choices, let their temper get the better of them, whatever. At the end of the day, all these players are kids, trying to figure out who they are and what they want out of life. Everyone wants a piece of these coaches and athletes and often times, college students think it's funny to pick fights or bait high-profile athletes simply to satisify their own egos. I get that. But the DUIs? The drugs? I mean, are they so unaware that their actions are monitored more closely than an average college student? I would imagine that the coaching staffs and media relations people hammer that home time and time again. What doesn't sink in?

Maybe it's unfair. You can argue that these athletes shouldn't be held to a higher standard, that all they're doing is playing sports and society exerts all these pressures they didn't ask for. And in some ways, maybe that's true. But I don't buy it.

College basketball is and will continue to be a high-profile sport. This information isn't a shocker.

It is a privilege to receive a free education, regardless of whether or not you choose to take advantage of it. It is a privilege to play sports at the collegiate level. Those privileges, as with any privilege in life, come with responsibility. When you sign that letter of intent, it becomes your responsibility to recognize that you now serve as a representative of your school. Yes, there ARE added pressures. Yes, you ARE held to a higher standard. You now have expectations that perhaps an "anonymous" student doesn't have. It comes with the territory. Deal with it. Act appropriately. Be the bigger man (or woman).

Here's hoping the headlines slow down after Friday....

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