They told us it would be ok.
That is basically what Baylor and coach Art Briles are saying about Boise State and Sam Ukwuachu.
At this point I'm removing any mention of Baylor, because this is a systemic problem, and has happened at many institutions.
Sad that all the incidents we hear about are somehow related to college athletes and the schools trying to keep them eligible because of the athletic program's desire to win.
Division I college sports, particularly football and basketball, are big time business and there's no argument against this. TV contracts, ticket and merchandise sales, national recognition, are all up for grabs to the school that can field the best team. BILLIONS of dollars are spent on facilities and uniforms in an attempt to attract the best of the best, the cream of the crop.
But with this much on the line for your business, you need to be careful. One bad apple can spoil the entire barrel for everyone involved. Unfortunately greed and lust override good judgement all too often.
Which is why the "they didn't tell us" defense sends me off the deep end.
What has happened to personal responsibility? If I'm in a position similar to any Division I head coach, and I have a chance to bring in an athlete that was dismissed from another team, I can tell you right now I wouldn't care what the other program divulged. I would dig until I knew beyond a doubt the details of the issues at hand. I would know every detail of that kid's life before coming to my campus.
Why? Because a rather large business, my job, and lots of money depend on his successful integration into the program, and if we screw up, it can damage a lot more than just the program.
What I'd love to hear is this: "We give kids second chances all the time, and on this one I missed. I'm sorry to anyone involved who was affected by my decision. I work hard with our staff to clarify any potential hurdles to this athlete's ability to successfully join the program and be a productive member of our academic community, and sometimes we don't uncover everything."
Instead, we get finger pointing.
The bottom line? Big time athletic programs take chances on kids for one reason, and one reason only...that player might be the difference between 3rd place and a conference title, the difference between a top 10 finish and the College Football Playoffs. Maybe that player is the one that helps turn the program around, because EVERYBODY wants a winning football and/or basketball team. Even programs that profess to have a lot of institutional "integrity" (relatively speaking) take chances.
So I'm done with finger-pointing. If you're bringing a questionable kid into your sports family, caveat emptor.
It's on you, coaches. If you take the handoff, it's now on your plate, nobody else's.
Ask the question, take diligence to the end, and accept the consequences if you screw up. If you're going down, at least do it with your integrity intact.
If you keep trying to avoid responsibility, the entire show may come crashing down for everyone.
Editors note: No comments attacking rival institutions, right or wrong, will be acceptable here. This is an article toward the national problem, recent events only inspired it.