Things just go from bad to worse with GT athletics... You'd think we were Miami
As if my outrage over Gailey's contract extension isn't enough, a federal court has said that Rueben Houston must be allowed to play football again
after being kicked out of school for conspiring to sell 100lbs of marijuana on campus. The court holds that the school can't treat Houston any differently than any other student because he's a football player. No better no worse. I disagree. The minute you put on a GT uniform and play in front of thousands of peopel in Bobby Dodd Stadium on ESPN, you are different than an average student. You are in the spotlight, you are a role model, you are an ambassador of the university. You screw up and it hurts the whole university. I screw up, probably no one is going to hear about it. No one gave me a free education at one of the top schools in the country. You are different and deserve to be treated as such. I don't know how many students faces felony charges every year, but I think being kicked off the team and off campus is a perfectly reasonable disciplinary action by the university. Obviously, the courts disagree. I guess it's okay to sell pot now.
Then, GT's self-imposed probation for playing academically-inelligible athletes in football, track & field, and swimming turns out not to have been harsh enough for the NCAA. They've decided to restrict our scholarships and recruiting and put us on a two-year probation that doesn't include any playing or television restrictions.
And want to know the kicker? We've been required to vacate our football team's performance in all games from 1998 through 2004. Huh. Wait, what? That means that, officially, there is going to be no record of us having even played football for 6 years. I've joked about our 41-17 loss at Duke a couple years ago not happening, but now, it actually didn't happen. Duke didn't actually tear down their goal posts. Joe Hamilton wasn't actually a Heisman finalist. We didn't actually get our asses handed to us by LSU in the Peach Bowl. This seems an unusually harsh penalty when you consider that it only involved 8 athletes in 4 different sports. Last I checked, none of our players killed anyone, gang raped anyone, spouted racial slurs, proclaimed themselves warriors, took recruits to strip clubs and bought them "favors". Marcus Vick is a local hero at VT, and he was kicked off the team for a year, and now he's starting. FSU has more legal problems than Michael Jackson and OJ Simpson combined. Colorado? 'nuff said. Either there is more going on here than we are being told, or the NCAA is trying to make an example of us.
You know, for as much as I love GT Athletics, they continue to dissapoint me, but I always come crawling back for more. I complain about our coaching and our mediocrity. But I do love being part of the ACC and a Div I-A school. We might not be the best team around, but I like to think that we're a clean program (especially compared to FSU and Miami). The NCAA and the federal court's rulings are completely contradictory and they cast shame on the entire school. I have never been more dissapointed to call myself a Ramblin' Wreck, and it's not anything I have any control over. Both decisions will be appealed, though I doubt much good will come of it.
GT isn't a school of quitters (if you disregard the "look to your left, look to you right, one of you won't be here in 4 years" speech at convocation...). We will continue playing our sports regardless of probation and sanctions. We will continue to collapse at inopportune times. We will continue to be a medicore team in a great conference. I will continue to root for my Yellow Jackets, but I will do so with a heavy heart, knowing that every team we play from now on will be looking down their noses at us and making claims that our wins against them won't count because we're cheaters.
I would like to make this point very clear: Georgia Tech is a hard school.
We don't offer big dumb jock majors like "Professional Golf Management
" or "Family and Consumer Sciences
". Even our liberal arts programs are hard. If you, as an athlete, in an "easy" major, with mandatory study halls, tutors, and tons of help, can't pass your classes, you don't belong here. Regular students have a hard enough time passing their classes without all that extra help. If you love GT, and you find yourself academically-inelligible, stop playing until you are. Buckle down, get your ass in gear, and study. And if after all that, you still can't hack it, get out of my school. We are not a school of cheaters or a school or bending the rules. You are not better than me because you're an athlete. You don't deserve special treatment. You are a student first and foremost, and if you fail as a student, you don't belong here, regardless of what else you do. For you to continue cheapens my degree and that of all other Tech graduates.
I understand that this applies only to a very small minority of student-athletes. But even one cheater is one too many. I only hope that the insane NCAA sanctions and the absolutely retarded court ruling will have their desired impact without any further negative repercusions. My pride in my school has been damaged enough for one week thank you very much.