Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp speaks during a press conference at the 2012 SEC media days event at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE
By Travis Duncan
"You get what you tolerate"
A coach once said.
He added, probably from experience, "If you don't hold your team accountable then you will lose credibility and your team will be spoiled."
That coach was John Brady former LSU basketball coach.
The idea of coach as the ultimate, buck stop here, figure has taken some hits. That isn't to say the coach of the football and basketball team at a major program isn't a star, but that coach as a disciplinarian has gone by the way side.
But we might see it go back in style.
And a lot of that has to do with Penn State.
Last week A.C. Leonard, it was announced, had departed the Florida Gators football program, by mutual consent.
Leonard was arrested in February on domestic violence charges, he pleaded no contest. You can read the write up we did here. Leonard reportedly shoved and dragged his girlfriend by her hair.
We've had a few mutual consent departures under Muschamp and it's not too hard to imagine that Muschamp wanted something from Leonard that Leonard wasn't willing to give.
Another theory is that in between the time the arrest took place, and now Muschamp had a change of heart about what he would tolerate and what he wouldn't.
And it might have something to do with Penn State.
The thing about it is, is that Muschamp and the Gators really don't need the headache. The situation in major college sports has changed even since the days of Urban Meyer, when he gave Chris Rainey another chance.
The current status is: everyone must be held accountable because eventually the coach will be held accountable.
The first argument to the theory proposed her is likely that the tragedies that took place at Penn State, namely child sexual abuse and then a coverup don't compare to a player getting arresting, even for domestic violence, no cover up and dicipline is administered.
But if you could ask Penn State or anyone involved if they would have known that their inaction at that time would have cost themselves, their families and others so dearly, they would have sent Jerry Sandusky out the door in a heartbeat and notified others.
Everyone wants to get as far as way from Penn State as possible or even having any semblance of the head turning that took place.
Will Muschamp said on ESPN last week that he would be very careful about going after Penn State players.
"I think you’ve got to be very careful,” Muschamp said via FLORIDA TODAY.
He continued, "We’re very close to the season right now. Our players have worked really hard and I love the chemistry in our locker room right now. You can disrupt your football team very easily by bringing in somebody from the outside that’s not the right fit."
"It’s all based on the situation and the type of young man that you’re talking about. But I really like our football team and the chemistry in our locker room at this point, and I don’t want to do anything to disrupt that."
In short Muschamp doesn't need or want the distraction.
And like the rest of the college football is saying to themselves on a daily basis, Muschamp is probably telling his staff: We've got to be very careful about everything we do.
Muschamp has at many times stated he was not going to be the CEO of a football program and that he wants to be on the practice field in the trenches teaching and coaching players. But what we learned from the Penn State scandal is that a head coach cannot put on the head coach hat at one moment and then the leading public figure of a public institution hat on when convenient .
Ask former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino.
Muschamp surely will relish his time out on the practice field teaching guys to hit and hit hard and to fill the gap and to create pressure, etc. But there's another sort of pressure that will be hanging over Muschamp.
Accountability for the actions of everyone associated with the Gators football program, from the dude who serves the hot dogs at Ben Hill Griffin to his assistant coaches to the 18-23 year olds who make up his football roster.
The pressure is on.
And should you fail to act or make the appropriate decision, not only will you lose your job, you will lose your reputation, your livelihood. One lapse in judgement and you could be done.
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