Thursday, October 12, 2006

The beer run heard 'round the country

It's official. This is now the most notorius beer run in the history of mankind. Ted Kennedy has walked into package stores on Martha's Vineyard without pants and created less turmoil.

The question that keeps coming up is was the punishment too harsh? The answer is no. It goes a bit farther than simply breaking the team rules of leaving the hotel and purchasing a relatively small amount of beer. It's the notion of a group of players looking to hoist a few the night before a big game that's troubling. It exudes selfishness in a sport where selfishness can be a cancer. I've played on baseball teams in high school and college where I became infuriated upon hearing a few guys went out and had a couple the night before a game. And those teams weren't close to being as significant as the UConn football team, an elite program that generates national interest and exposure. If having a beer is that high on your priority list, then football probably isn't a pressing issue.

The scheduled 1 p.m. media teleconference with coach Edsall did not go off because of technical problems with the website that hosts the call.

UPDATE: It's been rescheduled for 2 p.m. Check back for updates.


Blogger Jim Barton said...

This whole thing reeks. This isn’t just a case of a few kids going out and trying to score some beer for the night before a game. This rules violation, and the subsequent punishment that was dolled out, are perhaps a warning signal of a program on the verge of out of control. Let’s take a look at some of the issues here:

1. Clearly the athletes violated a team rule. They should be punished. However, does this punishment fit the crime? If you are of the mind that ALL rules violations should be punished with suspension from the team, then how do you explain the pellet-gun incident last year? All the players were suspended but subsequently reinstated (including Marvin Taylor, who is now off the team again due to credit card fraud). Are these kids in “beer-gate” going to be reinstated? Somehow I don’t think so.

2. The Getstapo-like tactics of the coaching staff. The alcohol was discovered by a coach who was going through the bags of a student, without his consent, knowledge, or presence. Should the coach have found, let’s say, some performance enhancing drugs and a syringe, would he have been so quick to report the violation? And do the coaches even have the legal right to conduct this type of search?

3. Randy Edsall’s win-now attitude. Twice now he has been told of rules violations but let the players in question play in the next game. If Edsall knew before the game, why didn’t he take action? I don’t buy the thinking that UConn was so shallow on the depth chart that they couldn’t have played another player at some of these positions. I would rather stick my 4th string QB at strong safety if necessary, than let a rules violator in the game. At that point you have to choose between your values and winning (of course, with this team they have now, they’re not winning many games anyway).

4. It’s one thing to lose football games, but it’s quite another to lose games AND be crooked. I’m happy UConn plays Navy and Army – perhaps some of the discipline and quality behavior of the cadets will rub off on the Huskies. Somehow I doubt it.

5. The possibility that the players in question had a history of rules violations suggests that things have gone awry in the football program and that the coaching staff/athletic administration is keeping a tight lid on it. Do we have an out of control program on our hands already? Usually a school gets to enjoy at least a national championship or two before it is inundated with such problems (hello Nebraska, hello Ohio State).

While anytime you get 100 or so college aged kids together, there is going to be some problems and bumps along the road, Edsall and the Athletic Department should be intelligent enough to know that UConn athletics in this state is examined under a microscope – and I don’t know about other fans, but I for one would rather have a football team with a losing record, so long as it is free of criminals who shoot pellet-guns, drink before games, and commit credit card fraud.

October 12, 2006 5:15 PM 

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