Would you, LSU football fan, bring to attention criminal activity amongst Tigers players or turn the other way to make sure Les Miles and company didn’t trip up on their march to another BCS Championship?
Would you, Baltimore Ravens fan, be willing to testify against one of your favorite players if you saw them participating in something deplorable away from the field?
Would you, Calvert Hall fan, be willing to call for a coach or administrator to step down and risk a high profile cheating scandal ruin the MIAA program?
The truth is that Edwards might actually be right. And with that in mind, you mind want to mark the date where I uttered these words.
Thank you, Debbie Yow.
(Wow. As a University of Maryland alum, I almost feel like I need a shower after typing that.)
Let me quickly try to explain. When Yow was Athletic Director in College Park, she was oft-criticized for butting heads with legendary basketball coach Gary Williams. Instead of deferring to the icon that brought a National Championship to Terps country, she regularly questioned his methods and at one point asked donors about interest in perhaps buying out his contract.
I am not hoping to convince you that Yow did much of anything right. I have no strong opinion one way or another.
I would like to remind you of what Yow didn’t do.
-She DIDN’T capitulate to a successful program and turn her head to any issues.
-She DIDN’T bend rules to let coaches have power to give jobs to family members of prospective recruits.
-She DIDN’T allow coaches to slip players in despite not being able to cut it academically.
-She DIDN’T allow infractions to go without penalty.
Most importantly, she didn’t allow for coaches to establish themselves as the most important people on campus, believing their thoughts to be more important than anyone else’s.
Yes, Jerry Sandusky’s crimes were committed in an isolated manner. Sandusky was a monster and most athletic departments will never have to deal with someone of his ilk. However, the Louis Freeh Report made it clear that others involved created the culture that allowed Sandusky to continue to commit crimes and go unpunished for over a decade.
Looking back on what we saw happen in College Park under Yow, it’s safe to say the same scenario would have never happened there.
She deserves credit for that. We often rightfully praise Williams for running a clean program during an era where breaking rules seemed casual, but Yow deserves credit for creating a similar culture. Current Athletic Director Kevin Anderson has the responsibility to achieve success (he has a lot of work to do in that area) while maintaining the same culture.
Coaches MUST be questioned. The program MUST have checks and balances. Everyone MUST answer to someone. There MUST be transparency.
Without it, you leave your program at risk of protecting a criminal even if not a monster.
Most of you won’t be willing to join me. I understand. But I felt it necessary to say it again today.
Thank you, Debbie Yow.