The issue of accountability continues to plague some of college football’s big-name coaches, such as the latest one involved, Urban Meyer. However, is there a deeper issue that colleges are overlooking?
Accountability. That seems to be a popular word in the realm of sports. Whether it is at the college or pro level, those tasked with running a team seem to be less and less accountable. Often times, fans hear about athletes being held to a certain standard of accountability. Perhaps they are held accountable for a certain performance during a big game, or for failing to be a leader.
However, there are certain figures that are expected to be held accountable. We’ll call it the “Elite Group” of accountability. This is the tier of people that are considered star players or figures that are put in a position of power such as a head coach or GM. At the college level, the GM is replaced by the Athletic Director or the AD. Often times, the AD and the head coach are linked in college sports.
Recently, Penn State University had a legendary head coach in Joe Paterno, who suffered a terrible fate to his coaching career back in 2011. When it was revealed that he knew about the atrocities being committed by then defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, Paterno came under a lot of fire. However, his firing came as a surprise to many fans, and it was considered a travesty by many. After his passing, there was a statue erected of him, and of course, it was met with much criticism.
Of course, how could a statue be erected after such a failure to report something so serious as sexual harassment and molestation? However, these kinds of incidents are common, unfortunately. In college sports these kinds of scandals are notorious. For example, the current situation at Ohio State with Urban Meyer and Zach Smith. Smith is the grandson of the late Earle Bruce, who was a mentor to Meyer.
In the case here at Ohio State, Meyer failed to report or acknowledge allegations of domestic violence. One thing to note here is that Meyer had these same allegations brought to his attention for the first time in 2009 while at Florida. Of course, Smith stuck around on Meyer’s staff. Perhaps it was Meyer’s pride that tarnished his own legacy. But, there is a deeper problem here that stems out into the entire college coaching ranks. So why are coaches not held more accountable?
There is a simple answer to this. Winning. Because winning brings in the big bucks and at a big-time school like Ohio State, winning is extremely important. However, there might be another layer to this that head coaches refuse to acknowledge. Their pride and often times athletic directors are too afraid to get rid of those coaches because of the pedigree.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) August 25, 2018
The problem that plagues college football is that the position of head coach is often treated like royalty. The king sits atop his throne without any resistance. The head coaching gig at the college level is over glorified. Many seem to believe that the AD and the head coach build the team. While that is mostly true, there is more that goes into it. The players themselves being the biggest component of the machine. They can’t even get a paycheck for their services, yet the head coaches are paid millions and sometimes don’t even live out the end of those lucrative deals.
The biggest issue here is that head coaches at the college level are treated as the main attraction to a team. While yes, recruiting is important, moral standards should be upheld at all times. Accountability should be the main focus and everyone, including the head coach, should be reviewed properly and punished accordingly. If coaches are allowed to continue being egotistical, then they will continue to believe they are above any rules and regulations. The ego of a coach and its effect on the recruiting process is a big reason for head coaches getting away with some of these scandals.
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