Jimbo Fisher needs to focus on control
After the dismissal of sophomore quarterback De’Andre Johnson and recent suspension of star tailback Dalvin Cook for different assault offenses, it is apparent that Jimbo Fisher and Florida State University are going down the same road as they did during last football season. While last year was a slightly different scenario with Jameis Winston, one thing is becoming clear and that is that the coaching staff, and FSU itself, need to focus on control of their student-athletes.
The news headlines were full of talk about quarterback Jameis Winston last season, as he was accused of allegedly raping a woman (civil suit pending), stole crab legs and was suspended for yelling offensive remarks in the student union. That nightmare was just one player, but there also was another incident that involved two other players during the season. On Oct. 5, starting cornerback P. J. Williams fled the scene of an accident, along with teammate and fellow cornerback Ronald Darby and another passenger, only to return later to the scene and receive two tickets, none of which are for a hit and run offense.
All of these offenses point to one glaring question: Have head coach Jimbo Fisher and Florida State lost institutional control when it comes to their student-athletes? Yes, there are other schools that have players get arrested and do stupid things for which they are punished, but crimes committed against women (assault, domestic violence and rape) seem to be on the rise. Not necessarily just at FSU, but also at the professional level. Last year, the NFL dealt with the Ray Rice fiasco, Ray McDonald, Greg Hardy (though his charges were later dropped) and many others, but it is beginning to flood the NCAA ranks now as well.
In the case of Jimbo Fisher and FSU, they have taken certain steps towards showing these players that there are consequences for their actions by suspending or dismissing players for illegal activity, but the punishment is inconsistent. Jimbo Fisher, after the De’Andre Johnson incident and dismissal, said that his players are now banned from going to bars. The problem in that is one of the players, Johnson, is only 19-years-old and should not be in a bar in the first place. He is not the only under-21 player on the team either, so this call for action isn’t necessarily required since these players shouldn’t be in bars if they aren’t 21 because it is illegal.
Due to the amount of cases that are occurring amongst many schools that are members of the NCAA, it should be time that the NCAA step in and take action. This will allow them to show the country, and the world, that they are serious about punishing schools and/or players for their actions. If player behavior is a major problem at some schools, then the coaching staff and university administration needs to be reprimanded for their lack of action against the offenders. At what point does winning at all costs become a problem? Especially if there are student-athletes who are already in trouble with the law prior to recruitment by universities and colleges around the country.
The best way to prevent legal problems from happening in professional sports, in this case the NFL, it would be best if universities and football coaches punished all of their players that break the law. The amount of exposure for universities and colleges should not be based on illegal actions of their players but rather for positive things that are happening on campus.
If institutional control cannot be maintained by a coach or school, send in the NCAA to handle the problem and teach these student-athletes about actions and consequences. Otherwise, the public will continue to see these athletes turn into professionals that break the law and feel untouchable, and they might start to spend their money elsewhere.
What are your thoughts on the legal issues at the NCAA-level? Can the problem be fixed or are kids just being kids? Let us know in the comments section below.
Dustin Brown covers NCAA football for MFST, and you can follow him on Twitter @SprtsWritingMan.