We all know how college football has an issue with players getting arrested. More specifically, SEC football players cannot seem to stay out of trouble.
Georgia has been hit hard by football players getting arrested through the years, but it’s not just in Athens. At some point, each SEC program has had embarrassing stories about players doing something they shouldn’t have.
What is the answer? Well, there could be 10 new rules put in place and those rules would not completely eliminate college football players getting arrested.
But there are a few things that could be done. Even though these are young men, aged 18 to 22 or so, they are still kids. They are in a college environment, where their maturity level has not reached its peak.
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So they must be treated like kids. We want to classify them as “young men,” but with the things many of them do, we know they’re just not there yet. They’re still kids.
And kids need instruction. Kids need supervision. They don’t need their hands held, but they do need rules and regulations. They need structure and expectations, and they need to realize the consequences of what can happen when they do something wrong.
Unfortunately, some kids don’t seem to care. Mark Richt has kicked players off his Georgia team for bad behavior, but it hasn’t totally deterred others from doing something stupid. If they can’t understand that they could lose their college scholarship and jeopardize their career, what does it take for them to get the message?
It’s been years since the NCAA voted athletics residence halls out. Before the rule change, all athletes could be housed in one central location, like old McWhorter Hall in Athens. They need to reinstate the ability for programs to have athletics residence halls. It would keep all players in one spot, which may held decrease the numbers of players who stray away from campus and do something wrong.
This would not just be about a coach or a staff member having the chance to keep an eye on players, but it would also give team leaders a chance to watch younger teammates. If you have good senior leadership, perhaps some of the younger members of the team wouldn’t go off and do something stupid.
Some college kids are going to do stupid things. Some are going to experiment. Some are going to break the law. But if they can be supervised just a bit more, perhaps it would help matters just a bit.
The supervision issue is problematic. Coaches do not have enough access to players. They are limited now in how much time they can spend with the athletes that it almost creates an open door for kids to stray away and get in trouble.
High school coaches can see kids every day. It’s not like they can’t see their players in the offseason. Yet college coaches are still limited. The NCAA recently loosened the restrictions, allowing coaches to be more involved in summer workouts. But there are still periods of time when coaches can’t even talk to their players.
An early signing period would also help this issue. If programs could sign part of their recruiting classes early -- like around this part of August -- then that would take them off the road a bit more during the season.
How do coaches do it? They must continually recruit high school prospects and at the same time keep an eye on the players they already have on campus. But if they didn’t have as many to worry about during the season, since some of them would already be signed in the barn, coaches could spend more time monitoring their own players. And the behavior of many college athletes has proven they need more monitoring.
These things won’t completely wipe out players getting arrested, but it might just help. And when we see this many players get in trouble, we know that’s what they need: help.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com. Follow Bill at www.twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.