Exactly how much turmoil can one football team endure? That question was raised once again after it was revealed on Wednesday that three current CSU football players have been charged with crimes ranging from theft to fraud.
“Today was a shock,” said Head Coach Sonny Lubick in reaction to the arrests of senior Robert Herbert and freshmen Brian Abata and Micha Crews.
“Right now they’re finished,” Lubick said, “Most of this is probably out of my hands.”
Lubick added that disciplinary actions will be carried out by the NCAA.
The coach said he first knew of the investigation last year when he “heard some credit cards were stolen.”
Lubick also said that he was informed Saturday about the possibility that a few players on his team were going to be issued arrest warrants.
The head coach added that he called the players into his office on Wednesday to inform him about the arrest warrants and said to them, “you got two ways to go.”
Herbert, Abata and Crews chose the easy way and turned themselves in.
Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk, present at practice for the first time during his tenure, said he was also aware of the situation last school year.
“I heard about an ongoing investigation not long after I was hired,” said Kowalczyk, who was introduced as CSU’s athletic director on April 11.
Kowalczyk did not place much responsibility for the situation on coach Lubick.
“You can’t hold somebody’s hand 24 hours a day as a coach,” he said.
Lubick added that he was surprised because of the character of those arrested.
“They’re damn good people,” Lubick said.
The news about the criminal charges comes a week after it was announced that Fum’s Song would no longer be played on the electronic screen at home games. The Fum’s Song controversy paled compared to two months earlier when coach Dan Hammerschmidt lost his wife of eight years to cancer, and in the same calendar year that another coach, Marc Lubick, was diagnosed and treated with cancer.
And just when it seemed like nothing else could possibly go wrong for the Rams, their star running back, junior Kyle Bell, suffered a season-ending knee injury last Tuesday.
Now factor in legality issues concerning two freshmen along with one of the team’s best defensive players from last year, and the situation the CSU football team currently faces heading into its biggest game of the year is certainly less than desirable.
Just how much bad press this team can handle before it breaks is unknown.
“It’s not going to affect us, I don’t believe,” coach Lubick said after practice about whether the arrests would play a factor in Saturday’s game versus Colorado-Boulder.
Up until this latest news, the team seemed to be dealing with everything just fine.
How the team deals with having three of its players suspended will be determined in full on Saturday at Invesco Field at Mile High.
Staff writer Sean Star can be reached at email@example.com.