Like me, you’re probably really tired of reading police reports related to college athletics.
Whether it’s serious misbehavior like the brawl in Knoxville or the latest UGA-related DUI charge, or annoying minor infractions involving fireworks, scooters or learner’s permits, it’s gotten exceedingly tiresome.
But let’s not get all sanctimonious and start railing about the good ole days and how these things didn’t happen back … whenever.
It’s always happened. It just didn’t always result in police charges. And even when it did, it rarely resulted in media coverage. Stupid college kids aren’t any more stupid nowadays. They just live in an era when everyone is under a lot more scrutiny than they used to be.
When I was at UGA, I got to know a guy who had been one of the athletic department go-fers back in the 1960s when Vince Dooley picked up his first couple of SEC championships. The tales he told about the off-field shenanigans that some of the star football players got into make today’s transgressions sound like kindergarten stuff.
You just didn’t read about it back then.
But we’re in a different era now, and today’s Bulldogs have to come to terms with that fact. So far this offseason, I think Mark Richt’s response to the seven arrests of varying seriousness has been on the mark. A couple of players have been kicked off the team, as they should have been.
In the latest incident, Richt’s penalties so far (pending further investigation) are exactly what I expected, with Tavarres King suspended for a minimum of one game for underage possession of alcohol and Dontavius Jackson suspended for six games for his wayward journey through campus under the influence. One more misstep by Jackson and it’ll be time for him to join Zach Mettenberger and Montez Robinson.
And if, like me, you were wondering why Branden Smith, Jackson’s teammate who was in the car but had not been drinking, wasn’t behind the wheel as the designated driver, well, he got served with a license suspension notice.
Which bring us back to that continuing, embarrassing problem the Bulldogs seem to have with driver’s permits. Here’s a suggestion: When the team checks in for preseason practice, require everyone on the team to present a valid driver’s license (not a learner’s permit) before issuing their playing equipment.
No license, no helmet.
That might get the message across, don’t you think?
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