Our Division I athletes have done a lot to bring prestige and honor to CSU. They’ve won bowls, been ranked as one of the nation’s elite five teams, broken records and played on ESPN, successfully establishing CSU as an athletic force with which to be reckoned. On the fields and tracks, in the gyms and pools, CSU athletes have performed feats that are results of years of training, practice, coaching and God-given skill.
From the looks of it, you could say these athletes are earning their scholarships. For the most part, they’re winning games. But is winning games the only responsibility of these athletes?
Last fall, a football player was admonished for deplorable remarks he made about his coaches and the football program. It’s also fair to say that on any given night during the past football season, you could find at least a few players at the bars. Recently, members of the men’s basketball team were suspended for violating team rules and reprimanded for making violent threats to a reporter.
But are these examples of athletes abusing their “free rides,” of not living up to the position of being a role model for the CSU community? Being a Division I scholarship athlete IS a job and certain responsibilities come with accepting an opportunity that puts you in the public eye.
The Collegian acknowledges the fact that CSU athletes are still normal college kids like everyone else. They want to party and have fun. We commend them for being themselves, for not shying away from the negative attention their activities and choices garner. As journalists, we love the fact that our athletes have distinct personalities and are not afraid to let their feelings be known. How enjoyable would it be to read about a bunch of cliche-spouting puppets? It wouldn’t, which is why we appreciate our athletes for being eccentric, entertaining, even loony.
However, what we do not commend is when the athletes cross obvious lines that put a black mark on CSU athletics and the university as a whole. Violence should never be a part of college athletics. Athletes should show respect and dignity when discussing teammates and coaches. If they don’t learn these maxims now, CSU athletes could quickly replace the Darryl Strawberrys and Rae Carruths of the sports world.