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Where is the discipline?

Here we go again. University of Tennessee junior defensive back Janzen Jackson was just released from this year’s football team forfeiting an extremely promising career for undisclosed reasons. Just last week two other players were caught on camera covering their faces from photographers as they left a detention facility in Knoxville. An off duty police officer was sent to the hospital while trying to break up a fight in a bar and apparently these two UT players were involved.
Tennessee is certainly not the only college with immature athletes behaving badly. Just this week Kenny Browder, a junior with the University of Wyoming, was arrested for Driving under the Influence. He has been suspended indefinitely after this incident.
Colorado State University linebacker James Skelton and defensive tackle Zach Tiedgen were arrested this past Saturday in Fort Collins, Colorado and charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct, respectively. Skelton, a senior, and Tiedgen, a junior were among four arrested at a large pool party at an apartment complex.
Louisiana State University quarterback Jordan Jefferson and linebacker Joshua Johns were arrested the day before in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They reportedly turned themselves in to police after arrest warrants were issued for their alleged roles in a fight outside a local bar a few days prior. Both Jefferson and Johns were suspended indefinitely after this incident.
Unfortunately, the list could go on and on.
While the vast majority of student athletes work hard, behave themselves, and take pride in being blessed with immense talent, there are some individuals that believe, for whatever reason, that that talent makes them invincible and unaccountable for their actions. It makes one stop and wonder though, doesn’t it?
Sure, when you’re young you inevitably make some bad decisions, but if a possible NFL run is a real possibility, wouldn’t it behoove one to carefully weigh the options before doing something stupid and/or illegal and jeopardize it. Perhaps they should ask themselves if engaging in socially unacceptable and potential criminal activity is worth losing it all.
Many people blame the “system” which pays athletes exorbitant salaries and provides instant celebrity and privilege. Young people become so spoiled and quickly learn to feel entitled to get what they want and when they want it.
And then there is another spin, which is that it happens all the time and everywhere. What happened to discipline? We either want it or we don’t. There should be consequences to one’s actions, whether they play second-string kicker in youth league or they are the starting quarterback for an SEC powerhouse team.
Discipline is an extremely important part of any organized sport and it must begin at the top. Recently NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a radio interview that athletic directors, coaches, and student athletes are sitting around doing a mental risk/reward calculation on whether it’s profitable to break the rules; and “since we’ve not generally dealt out terribly severe punishments most of the time the risk has been worth the reward.” That needs to change.
While a coach might cringe at the thought of benching his star player for breaking team rules, it speaks volumes to his teammates and proves the importance of team discipline.
A true athlete also needs personal discipline. There are many distractions in life and there always will be. While it might be tempting to engage in questionable behavior, today's college football player needs to discipline themselves and avoid the temptations encountered by many college students. Their very future depends on it.