As California University of Pennslyvania will have an external review of its football program, it’s just a daily reminder that the culture of athletics needs to change.
Cal’s football program may have had a fairly successful season, finishing 8-3, but that’s not what most people are talking about when bringing the program up in conversation. What they’re talking about is all of the criminal charges that have been brought up on several occasions against Vulcan players. According to reports, at least 26 Cal players have some kind of criminal record.
The simple fix for that problem begins with the coaching staff in the recruiting process. Thoroughly checking out the players that you’re offering a roster spot to should be a top priority but, as one could assume, that is likely pushed back with winning games in the forefront of coaches’ minds.
If you look throughout the nature of athletics this season, the negatives are more talked about than any of the positives. It could just be the world that we live in, a world that’s starving to hear the next bad thing that’s happening to someone that’s not them. But if you ask me, this culture of athletics is not one that I would encourage for future athletes.
As a student-athlete, you’re bogged down with many responsibilities. You have to get to class, get to practice, figure out your place in the world and learn how to be on your own for possibly the first time. It’s not an easy way of life, as one could imagine. But that doesn’t, by any means, give you a right to act out as these football players did, beating a man until he was unconscious and couldn’t move.
Playing collegiate sports is a privilege, and it’s one that oftentimes makes athletes believe that they’re above authority. You see it with athletes all of the time.
But look at UAB. The football program was taken away in the blink of an eye. Those athletes must now make a decision: find another school to play at or get their education and move on with their life.
For those who wind up in the legal system with being arrested, charged or serving time, they, too, have to make a decision: keep on living that lifestyle or make amends and change.
High school athletes oftentimes have dreams of playing at the next level and eventually at the professional level so naturally they look up to those that are doing what they hope to one day accomplish. In that same breath, what do you think the message is that they’re getting?
The culture of athletics today is one that embodies the “me” generation and if that culture doesn’t soon change, the future of athletics is in danger.