Thursday, November 17, 2005

Where Do I Start??

A Fulton County Judge has ruled that former defensive back Reuben Houston must be reinstated to the team, and to the University of Georgia Tech.

Why was Houston a former Yellow Jacket you ask? Well, he was charged with being part of a conspiracy to sell over 100 lbs of marijuana on the Tech campus.

The article goes on to talk about how players that get in trouble are treated by Athletic Directors and various head coaches. Some ADs and coaches abide by the 'innocent until proven guilty' way, and do nothing until legal proceedings have worked themselves out. Other ADs and coaches will often suspend a player once charges have been filed, or even just after an arrest.

Both are valid ways of handling a situation. But in Houstons case, it was taken out of the AD and head coaches hands. Houston was suspended by Tech upon arrest and charges being filed. He appealed that suspension. As per due process rules, he was allowed back into school, given his room and board per his scholarship, but not allowed back onto the football team.

He lost that appeal, and subsequently forfeited his scholarship. He then appealed to the courts. The judge has ruled that he must be reinstated, because he was treated differently than the other students at Tech.

HOLD the phone. He is different than the other students at Tech. He's on a FULL athletic scholarship. He gets training table. ( for those not familiar with college athletics, training table is the term used for the food that athletes eat. It is a regimented diet, prepared by full time chefs, and is designed to maximize athletic ability. Lots of pastas, steaks, veggies, etc. Think of the best buffet you ever went to. Now imagine if the food tasted 10X better. That's a college training table. ). He gets tutors that aren't available to the general school populous. He gets preferential class selection to tailor around his athletic schedule. He gets FREE housing. The list goes on and on. Don't even get me started on the treatment he gets from professors.

The judge says that because you wouldn't ask a regular student to leave, means that you can't ask Houston to leave, or kick him off the team. This is a big Pandora's box we're playing with here. A court can supersede a head coaches decision on how to regulate HIS team?

The article talks about 'privilege' vs rights'. The AD of Tech, says it's a privilege to play football there, and that means the university gets to pick who plays there. I agree with him 100%. The author of the article, Roger Cossak, says that he feels that the thought process used by the AD still doesn't mean the university has the right to choose how to punish the offenders. He says that states define driving as a 'privilege', and not a 'right'. Yet if you lose your license, you can go to court to try to get it back.

Cossak is a smart guy. But that was prolly the least thought out argument I've ever heard. If the university can't govern punishment of offenders to their codes, than who can? The university has standards that it requires it's members to adhere to. Making the university look bad, is in contrast to those standards, and the university should be able to punish as it sees fit. Driving on the other hand, is no different. If the state feels you haven't stayed up to it's standards, then it can take away your privilege to drive. You can appeal, and the only recourse you have then, is to go to the courts.

At a college, you can appeal any punishment that is handed down. Instead of going to a state funded court, the university will offer you due process in it's own court system. Tech did that for Houston. They even granted him the ability to return while he was appealing. He lost that appeal. So why did the story not end there?

I really don't understand how this judge feels he can supersede the university's decision. This could cause a real big mess in college athletics. Any lawyers in Miami around the "U" are prolly grinning ear to ear about this one.


Post a Comment

<< Home