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Life Lessons

The World of College Football

Today’s post consists of two stories from the world of college football.

In one, the University of Minnesota has apologized for its mascot, who mocked a Penn State player who was praying.

In the other, columnist Jeff Pearlman takes University of Montana football coach Bobby Hauck to task for boycotting the school newspaper.

Of the two incidents, I can easily forgive the mascot. He was no doubt trying to be funny, and it fell flat. It happens. Some people might see his conduct as an attack on religion; I doubt it goes that deep.

But as a former sports writer who is now a coach, I can’t imagine what events could lead a coach to boycott his own school’s newspaper.

Back in my sports writing days, I was on the receiving end of lots of surly, spoiled behavior from players and coaches. It got to the point where you really didn’t expect anything better.

College coaches should be different. They preach values and toughness. Where is the Montana’s coach’s toughness when his team is the subject of a critical article written by college students? What values are on display there? And what would make him pin this boycott on his players?

“My players have asked me not to participate in this,” he said at a news conference. “I had two seniors in my office this morning, and I apologize, but I’m not going to participate.”

Now wait a second. Isn’t the coach’s role to teach, to guide, and to prepare people for life outside the arena? Doesn’t Hauck tell his players what to do every day? Then why wouldn’t he explain to those two seniors that this behavior is juvenile?

Coaxhes also preach about team. Has Hauck given any thought to the effect on another team, namely the university as a whole? The school is scrambling to deal with the embarrassment that Hauck’s tantrum has brought upon the community.

Rah rah, sis boom bah


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