The days of college football coaches running rough-shod over players seem to be coming to an end.
The “Bobby Knight School of Coaching” may have finally rung its death knell as school athletic programs have joined the rest of society in recognizing that people, even student-athletes, are human beings and should be treated that way.
Part of this change in culture is the certainly the light that has recently been cast on injuries, most notably concussions and other head injuries and the interest that the NFL and various entities have taken in this. But part of it is also just a much needed, long overdue change that has been sweeping the business world for well over a decade and is now reaching the collegiate sports level.
There is no place for public humiliation and abuse in our society, anywhere. Even the military and college Greek societies (fraternities and sororities) get it as they all did away with the long-standing practice of “hazing” at promotions and pledging a few years ago. It’s about time the college football coaches got it too.
Earlier this month, at Kansas, Jayhawks head coach Mark Mangino was “fired” after many players complained about abusive treatment and insensitive, humiliating remarks they claim he made to them during games or practice, often in front of others.
Actually, he really wasn’t fired. He was allowed to resign with a $3 Million buyout from his contract. But it was a forced resignation.
And this week, in Lubbock Texas, things came to a head when Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach was accused of putting WR Adam James (son of former NFL player Craig James), who was suffering from a mild concussion, in an equipment shed and not allowing him to sit down for three hours. Leach was then accused of allegedly putting James in an electrical closet and again not being allowed to sit.
James complained, feeling that he was being singled out because he was injured and Leach was angry that he couldn’t practice. He felt humiliated and unnecessarily punished.
There was some question as to whether it was an actual “shed” or a garage, and whether there was an exercise bike in there or just a chair. And there have been questions all season as to James’ overall motivation to play and practice. One of Leach’s assistants sent an email to ESPN stating that James was basically a whiner and a slacker and that this was his way to get back at coaches who he felt didn’t know how to coach.
At any rate, after Texas Tech’s investigation, Leach was canned. Interestingly, the firing comes less than 24 hours before a clause kicks in on Leach’s contract that would have given him an $800K bonus for longevity.
According to ESPN, Texas Tech’s official statement said Leach’s recent actions made it impossible for him to remain coach of the Red Raiders.
“In a defiant act of insubordination, Coach Leach continually refused to cooperate in a meaningful way to help resolve the complaint. He also refused to obey a suspension order and instead sued Texas Tech University,” the statement said.
So, Texas Tech will now go to Valero Alamo Bowl on Jan 2nd against Michigan State with an interim head coach. Defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil will be running the show, and hoping to make it a permanent gig.
Ironically, both Mangino and Leach were Big 12 Coaches of the Year. Mangino won the award in 2007 and Leach won it last season.
This video was taken by Adam James, a player on the Texas Tech Red Raider football team on Saturday, December 19th, after being confined by Coach Mike Leach in an electrical closet off the Press Room at Jones AT&T Stadium. James was suffering from a concussion received during an earlier scrimmage game. James was ordered to stand in the darkness until released several hours later. James momentarily turned on a light to record his surroundings with his cell phone.
Source: Adam James, Texas Tech Football Player