A leadership (dis)service to the student-athlete

I understand the realities of big-time college sports. It has become a money game, whether the NCAA truly acknowledges it or not (they certainly acknowledge it during rights fee negotiations for the NCAA basketball tournament and BCS championship). And with big-time money, comes big-time hypocrisy, the type we are supposedly seeing with the move of UCONN football coach Randy Edsall to the University of Maryland. (Note that the full story has yet to come out but the subject involved is enough for this commentary)

So many times you hear coaches talk about how much they care about “their kids” and that the coaches are there to help build leaders, not just football players. Well, it is hard to buy into that when these coaches leave their current job for a new one, without addressing the team directly, without being upfront with them, without showing the type of leadership qualities they profess to impart to their impressionable players. For a society that already exposed to a growing number of stories about ethical lapses, a lack of accountability, and me-first behavior, we certainly don’t need more involving those in a position of great influence over young people.

There is a lot right about college sports but also a lot wrong with it as well. We seem to be caught in a trend in which the former is stagnant and the latter is rampant. To address this disturbing trend, we need leaders to assume the responsibilities that come with their positions and with their role as a contributing member of society. Unfortunately too many coaches are not serving as those types of leaders, which is a disservice to us all.