Opinion

Stop calling players ‘student-athletes’

Most students-real students, that is-know that football players exist on a plane far above everyone else on campus. Some glaring examples: These celebrities have the luxury of pristine, state-of-the-art gyms that normal students can’t touch. Some live in dorms resembling high-end apartments. And perhaps most importantly, they are given a degree of leniency and afforded protections that normal students will never have. Thus, when Virginia Tech finally kicked Marcus Vick off the team for his indiscretions, it came as a bit of a surprise.

Before he stomped on the leg of a Louisville player during a nationally televised bowl game, Vick had been in hot water with Virginia Tech-not to mention police-at least nine times prior. (The incidents were described in a column last Tuesday, so I won’t get into specifics except to reiterate the fact that they were all serious offenses-the ones we know about, anyway.) But of all those incidents, it was the image of Vick digging his cleats into the leg of Elvis Dumervil as he lay strewn on the ground that finally did him in. Call me crazy, but I would submit to you that Vick’s expulsion (from the football team, but not the university, mind you) has more to do with the fact that it was broadcast for millions to see rather than any legitimate integrity Virginia Tech may have.

How many universities are as forgiving to average students as they are with their football players? The students who can’t run 4.4 seconds 40-yard dashes?

The University of Miami is unfortunately no different than other football schools when it comes down to meaningful decisions. Willie Williams (our prized linebacker recruit) was arrested no less than 10 times before being admitted to the University, but since he just so happens to be able to knock the stuffing out of people on the football field, it’s overlooked. How many students not affiliated with any sport are afforded this kind of treatment? Here’s a hint: Take the amount of points the Hurricanes scored against LSU in the Peach Bowl and subtract three. Just one arrest on the record of a non-athlete is enough to bar him from entering UM. The real kicker is that Williams was actually charged by Gainesville police with a felony for discharging fire extinguishers, and for misdemeanor battery for hugging a woman without her consent, after signing with Miami.

It’s unbelievable what we now tolerate as acceptable behavior simply because certain individuals have physical talents that most don’t. Their abilities on the football field shouldn’t insulate them from appropriate treatment and punishment. Bad behavior is bad behavior, and should be treated as such.

In this day and age, it appears that college football players can engage in the most nefarious of activity and almost always get away with it. Just so long as they aren’t caught on camera stomping someone’s leg.

Moises Jacobs is a senior majoring in journalism and English. He can be contacted at m.jacobs3@umiami.edu.

January 27, 2005

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.