Mike Gundy has to deal with what must be the toughest part of being a head coach--the decision of whether or not to let a player go.
In case there are still those that do not know, OSU running back Herschel Sims is being charged for stealing $700 from fellow teammate, Jeremiah Tshimanga. CRFF has sent out a few tweets as early as a couple days ago about what we knew of the situation. Basically, Sims stole Tshimanga's ID, went to his bank, and withdrew $700.
Now comes the disclaimer: the following opinion is based on what I currently know of the situation. It is possible that there are more details that could very well change how I feel about what should or should not be done and the punishment that most aptly fits the crime.
With that said, I cannot possibly see how Sims can stay a part of this football team. Now, it is obvious that if he is found guilty his dismissal would be pretty set in stone as Coach Gundy has never kept a player on the roster guilty of a felony. But even had Tshimanga not pressed charges and the situation was handled outside of the justice system, I simply cannot fathom how Sims being allowed to stay aboard helps the team, the program, or even Sims himself.
More high horse opinion forming after the jump.First and foremost, I realize there is more to this than I know. I also realize that the coaches face terrible decisions like this every year and have to not only think about how those decisions will affect their teams but also the individual student athletes as well. But in this specific instance, the team has to cut ties with Sims. Regardless of how good of a player he is. Regardless of what our depth looks like at the running back position. None of that matters. This is an instance that defines the character of your program.
You simply cannot have players on your roster that commit such terrible and disloyal acts against fellow teammates.
From a teammate standpoint, how do you trust him ever again? We aren't talking about someone who took someone else's last beer from the fridge or even snagged a five dollar bill off the coffee table. Sims took Tshimanga's ID without him knowing, forged his signature, and stole $700 from his bank account. And then on top of all that, he repeatedly lied about it when confronted by both Tshimanga and the coaching staff. If you are a fellow teammate, how can you share a locker next to him after that without wondering if your belongings are safe? More importantly, how do you respect someone that would do something like that to one of his own teammates? What kind of message does it send to the entire team if Sims is able to stay while so many other players have worked their butts off, have done everything the right way off the field, and will still never see the field as much as he will?
And as crazy as it may seem now, dismissing Sims from the team may be the best thing for him in the long run. Sometimes kids need serious consequences in order to make major changes in their lives. I understand that everyone needs a second chance and I have no doubt that Sims would get one. It just needs to be with a different team. He needs to understand that a crime--a felony-- like this cannot simply be resolved by running stadium steps until he throws up or even a suspension of any kind. He must learn that there are proper consequences for horrible actions and hopefully those consequences will make him a better person for having endured them.
This opinion may not even mean anything within the next week. As stated before, it is very possible that Sims pleads guilty to the crimes he is being charged with and will no longer be with the team as a result. But I would hope that even had the charges never been filed that the coaches (Mike Gundy especially) would have done what is right for the program, its character, and all of the parties involved.
That includes Herschel Sims.