College Coaches: Teaching Students What NOT to Do!

by on March 7th, 2015
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Penn State’s coaches Jerry Sandusky & Joe Paterno charged in school sex scandal

Missouri’s head coach Gary Pinkel charged with DWI

As the media frenzy begins to die down around the recent Penn State former coaches’ sex scandal, another controversy takes center field at the University of Missouri.

Head coach Gary Pinkel was pulled over by Boone County police on Wednesday night for lane and signal violations and then arrested on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, his first offense. This could cost Pinkel more than $300,000 in fees and lost incentives in addition to a suspension and community service. He will lose the opportunity to be on the sideline for the last home game on Saturday against Texas Tech, and won’t be allowed to return to his office until Thanksgiving, two days before the historical mid-west border clash rivalry versus Kansas.

Pinkel will undoubtedly face harsh scrutiny while again drawing the media spotlight just days after Missouri announced it will be leaving the Big 12 and joining the Southeastern Conference.

Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel was charged with driving under the influence.

The Missouri head coach, who has been known to have a strict policy on such offenses by his students, will also face a laundry list of tough penalties after posting $500 bond to be released from jail following his arrest.

• For one, Pinkel will have to complete 50 hours of community service as well as prepare a written public letter of apology.

• The head coach will face a one-week suspension without pay – costing him $40,769 in base salary and guaranteed incentives. Pinkel is not allowed to participate in any coaching activities or game preparation with the team until Thanksgiving Day.

• He will also lose an additional week’s salary that will be donated to a Missouri campus program (The Missouri Wellness Resource Center) that deals with alcohol, tobacco and other substance-abuse prevention and treatment.

• Pinkel’s contract, which runs through 2017, pays him a guaranteed yearly salary of $2.3 million. But another penalty will be a one-year salary freeze, which will cost him a $50,000 increase due at the end of 2011.

• Pinkel will also lose a $100,000 social/academic incentive built into his contract.

• Another big penalty includes the elimination of a $75,000 bonus should Missouri qualify to participate in a postseason bowl game.

Gary Pinkel addresses the media

Pinkel released a statement saying “First and foremost, I am very disappointed in myself for my lack of judgment in this instance. Nobody should drink and drive, including me. My staff and I constantly reinforce with each of our players the importance of not putting yourself into a position such as this. I did not follow that here and for that, I sincerely apologize.” Student polls and interviews since the coach’s arrest echo the sentiments that coaches need to practice what they preach and lead by example.

These types of stories surrounding college sports raise serious questions about how effective coaches can be as role models for their players. It seems they have a better chance at learning what not to do from their mentors rather than following their lead. But the responsibility of influencing students does not begin and end with the coaches simply because they are the first line of contact. As with Penn State, it can be said that accountability can be traced further up the chain to include program heads who make the decisions that can affect the reputation of the entire school and its alumni.

The University of Missouri’s decision to switch from the failing Big 12 conference to the more highly regarded SEC could also be considered debatable when reviewing the long-term effects. There are different opinions that have emerged in the wake of the announcement of the switch that question whether school tradition and loyalty is being pawned for financial gain. It is no secret that today’s breeding grounds for sports’ talent are also major targets of greed by profit-seeking individuals and corporations looking to exploit young prospects. Mizzou for example reportedly stands to generate an additional $2 million per year from sponsorship alone as a part of the SEC, at the expense of century old rivalries such as Kansas.

Missouri’s switch to the SEC ends a century-old rivalry vs. Kansas

Kansas officials have publicly voiced their dissatisfaction with Missouri’s decision to switch conferences. It was declared “Missouri forfeits a century-old rivalry. We win,” stated in a tweet from @KUNews. While Missouri’s balance sheets may be enhanced by the move, it does not seem to be as positive for teams that will still remain a part of the Big 12. Reactions by Big 12 brass claiming they will no longer continue to play Missouri teams seem petty to some, while others feel that taking a stand for loyalty is warranted. Debates about issues like these may be teaching students to make decisions on the basis of the wrong criteria. It may take decades to assess whether they have learned better from listening to their educators or learning from their mistakes.

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