Opinion

Star player status merits exception

Let us be honest with ourselves. Despite however enraged we may feel over the situation, we are relieved that our football team did not suffer the loss of Rose Bowl co-MVP player Andre Johnson. However unfair the outcome is, there is a sense of relief. Losing wide receiver Andre Johnson would have been a devastating blow to an already plagued team.

With the loss of graduating seniors and draft-ready juniors Portis, Shockey, and Buchannon, the pressure for a repeat title is on. Yes, he cheated. Yes, he got caught. Yes, the honor council did its job. And yes, the review board let him off with a slap on the wrist. Quite frankly, it is not anyone else’s business other than his.

Academic integrity records are private, the only reason we even know what has occurred is because of a leak, a rat. We all know that football players are held to much different standards than any other student. You and I would have been kicked out of school for such an act. But it did not happen to a normal student. It happened to a star football player. A player who will play an important role in helping our football team achieve a repeat title next year in Arizona. A player who will start for the very school whose honor code he has spat on. Honor and trust, it seems, count only on the football field and within the team. This in no way indicates how others should live their lives.

It is not an excuse for anyone else, even the other players. Does the decision make our honor code a joke? Of course not, it makes us like any other major football power that tries to preserve its winning streak. It is embarrassing to the student body as well as the hard working football players on our team, but it is a fact of life. Football, like any other sport, is a world of its own. Name any other profession where you can make millions of dollars instantly without even so much as a college diploma.

It is hard to comprehend and accept what the review board decided because it is so unfair. Maybe society as a whole needs to start holding these soon-to-be celebrities up to a higher standard. And as much as I would like to think that could happen, it will not. Sports is entertainment. Football is the best money-maker out there, and as long as there is money involved the system will forever be corrupt. Even for the small-time college players.

Denise Kolb is a sophomore majoring in criminology.

March 22, 2002

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