[tl;dr] Assessing the Responsibility of College Coaches and Players

Let’s talk about the responsibility college coaches have for their players and the roles they play in determining their punishment when those players screw up. This could easily be singled out against Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, but let’s be real, college athletes screw up everywhere, so let’s not single him out. College coaches recruit players, but ultimately are they responsible for the decisions players make on a day-to-day basis? No.

Here’s why:

When people graduate high school and either go on to college or into the work force, there’s an expectation by society for those young adults to have a certainly level of responsibility. If you go to a bar and punch someone or run from the police who’s fault is that?

Certainly not your employers fault, or in this case, the person who gave you an athletic scholarship.

The truth about Meyer, and many other college coaches, is that his job is to win; sometimes, at whatever costs necessary. If that means they have to recruit a few bad apples, then so be it. It isn’t something that many of the academically superior universities like, but they understand what those players bring to the school in terms of revenue and exposure.

For the record, I’d prefer if coaches left all bad apples out and only recruited athletes from solid backgrounds. I know this isn’t possible, but it’s what I’d prefer.

It’s time for players to accept more personal responsibility and it’s time for university administrators and fans to expect more responsibility from players and better disciplinary action from their coaches. This issue isn’t limited to Urban Meyer, though the appearance is that he doesn’t discipline his best players, but that extends to coaches at every level in collegiate athletics.

It would be easy to expect coaches in all programs to discipline all players the same way, but as is in the real world, that just simply isn’t feasible. In a perfect world, winning at the collegiate level is deemphasized and education becomes important again. Sure, fans typically only care if their teams win games, but at the end of the day the reputation of the university is more important than wins or losses.

What level of responsibility do players have and what are your expectations from coaches and university administrators when players make mistakes?