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March 23, 1994 - Image 30

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-23

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Universities st
As student-athletes move from the.
sports page to the front page, the
headlines depict an alarming
trend of crime and scandal.
For example:
In January, sophomore Tyrone
Williams, a defensive back for the U. of
Nebraska football team, allegedly fired
several rounds at a car being driven by
another student.
Also in January, Robert Glanton, a
running back at Northwestern U., with-
drew from school after allegedly enter-
ing several women's rooms late at night,
watching and sometimes touching the
sleeping residents.
Auburn U., U. of Notre Dame,
UNIV and a host of other schools have
experienced lawlessness among stu-
dent-athletes in recent years. Even at
Pennsylvania State U., which tradition-
ally has boasted a squeaky clean pro-
gram, five football players were arrest-
ed on charges including felony theft
and selling cocaine in 1992. As a result,
schools are asking some difficult ques-
tions: Why are these athletes getting
into trouble, and what can be done
about it?
The reasons behind the headlines
Those who supervise student-athletes
have srggled to find common factors
behind these crimes.
Arizona State U. has been searching
for answers since a nationally publicized
wave of scandals hit the campus in
1991-92. During a 14-month span, 19
student-athletes were named in criminal
complaints ranging from burglary to
aggravated assault. As a result, ASU
moved into the national spotlight of
athleticcontroversy,>and university
President Lattie Coot responded y
ordering two studies to investigate the
situation. Both studies concluded that
the isolation of student-athletes was a
According to one of the studies: "If them
we were to cite a single complaint con- get i
cerning the lives of student-athletes, N
particularly those in the major revenue Wis
sports, it would be that these young Rich
men and women are isolated from the "T
academic and social community." tie c
Mike Sertich, hockey coach at the U. who
of Minnesota, Duluth, says, "A lot of the
kids want to go out and be part of the close
mainstream, but because they are recog- Bu
nizable, they can't. Consequently, peo- atten
ple may take advantage of them, pursue tory
them and push them a little bit. When "M
alcohol and egos get involved, trouble spor
starts brewing." mod
Sertich and others say the spotlight pub
burns brighter because athletes are pub- "Un
lic figures. But is it fair that they find from
12 " u. magazine

rusle to deal with athletes in trouble

all ASU athletes, appointed a team to
investigate unlawful acts related to ASU
athletics and called for a student-athlete
conduct code. Since the conduct code
was devised, no ASU athlete has been
linked to a major offense.
"I think [the code] helped... because
here's our set of rules, and we have to
follow by it, rather than the rules that
society says," says senior Toby Mills,
former starting center for ASU's foot-
ball team. "The rules we follow here are
tighter than society's."
Athletic Director Charles Harris says
he received requests for copies of ASU's
policy from between 40 and 50 schools,
including Auburn and Syracuse U.
Last fall, Syracuse also developed a
strict conduct code for athletes.
According to the campus paper, The
Daily Orange, last year's arrest of a bas-
ketball player charged with vandalism
prompted Chancellor Kenneth Shaw to
call for the new code, which is 33 pages
long and reads in part, "You will be held
to a standard of ethical conduct and
hehavioral expectations which may well
exceed those of non-athletes."
In Shaw's opinion, the restrictions of
the new code are balanced out by the
perks it establishes, such as counseling
and development programs specially
*designed for student-athletes.
"As I see it, a good university doesn't
treat everybody alike," Shaw says.
And at ASU, although things have
improved, Coor plans more changes.
One of the studies he ordered issues 27
recommendations, including recruiting
stronger students, monitoring their
progress more closely and pairing ath-
letes with non-athlete roommates.
According to the NCAA's Reith, mea-
sures such as these aren't intended as
penalties, but as a way to integrate ath-
letes into the student body by removing
unnecessary privileges such as athletic
dorms, which will he phased out at all
NCAA schools by 1996.
"The philosophy of the NCAA is that
the athlete is an integral part of the stu-
dent body," she says. "The athlete is a
student first and shouldn't be treated as
another being." One of the themes of
the next NCAA convention will be the
ethical conduct of student-athletes.
As universities look toward the future,
Coor says, "Those who study the natur-
al phenomenon of the Earth note that
fires, as painful and damaging as they
are, are therapeutic to the longer-term
ecology of the area. I think we should
all learn from misfortune."
Sally Kuzenichak, The Daily
Collegian, Pennsylvania State U., and
Shaun Rachau, State Press, Arizona State
U., contributed to this article. UI

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be system is somebow broken, and we bave
got to fix it. And fx it we will."

iselves on page one every time they
n trouble?
ot in the opinion of U. of
consin Athletic Director Pat
ter, a former Washington Redskin.
he athlete is not only given very lit-
hance within the press to have the
le story come out, but because of
coverage, their case is much more
ly scrutinized," he says.
it most agree that whether the
tion is fair, it comes with the terri-
of being a public figure.
lost athletes that are competing in
ts at NCAA institutions are role
els," says Kathryn Reith, director of
lic information at the NCAA.
fortunately there do seem to be,
time to time, a few athletes that

don't [set a good example]. And because
they're athletes it probably will be on
page one. Whether it's the right thing
or a good thing or not, that is what's
going to happen. Athletes need to
understand that."
Fixing the system
The community responded to ASU's
situation with disgust. In one poll, 70
percent of those surveyed in the
Phoenix community had a negative view
of ASU as a result of the scandals. Even
Sports Illustrated berated the "bedeviled
Sun Devils."
"The system is somehow broken, and
we have got to fix it. And fix it we will."
ASU's Coor said during the crisis.
Coor ordered background checks on

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