Opinion, Staff Editorial

Make student-athletes more accessible

Now more than ever, high-profile college athletes are being treated as university employees, not students. Their status as university brand-builders and revenue-makers separates them from the rest of the student population. At UM, the athletes of popular sports, particularly for flagship sports like football and basketball, are isolated from their non-athlete peers due in part to stringent rules established by not only the NCAA but also the athletic department and team coaching staffs.

These student-athletes receive heavy restrictions on what they can and cannot say to media publications. Players, especially the high-profile ones, are trained to give answers that evade truly answering certain questions. They answer the limited media questions with scripted non-answers – “We didn’t execute the way we wanted to,” or “We just want to come out here, practice hard and make sure everyone is on the same page.”

“Because of my era and all that stuff in the ‘80s, there’s an image issue,” said Dan Sileo, a defensive lineman for the Hurricanes football team from 1985-86. “At the end of the day, do you think if a kid gives a bad answer they’ll forgive him? Every time a kid makes a mistake he pays for it with a pound of flesh.”

Additionally, the athletic department restricts student journalists from asking questions and talking to athletes in class. While these rules are seemingly a reaction to the sanctions and bad press UM has had to deal with in the past decade, the restrictions end up hurting the athletes for the sake of protecting the athletic programs themselves.

The student-athletes are adults and should be able to choose for themselves what they say to the public. These stringent rules damage the quality of reporting, separate the student athletes from their peers and fail to prepare the athletes for potential professional careers after college.

These rules turn the athletes into premature celebrities, isolating them from the rest of the student body. Athletes are almost always walking, eating and hanging out with other athletes. While teammates should reasonably become close, some athletes seem to rarely interact with other students.

The athletic department is not helping this insulation with its regulations, and it is not good training because, in the real world, there is no written rule prohibiting someone from approaching pro athletes for questions.

High-profile student-athletes should not be hidden away by overprotective practices. Instead, they should be able to practice their own judgment and have the opportunity to candidly interact with peers as UM students.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board. 

February 15, 2017

Reporters

Editorial Board

The Miami Hurricane


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four play ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

University of Miami head golf coach Patti Rizzo announced the 2018-19 schedule, featuring nine tourn ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

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.