Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bastion of Athletic Purity

Props to Larry Beckish, a retired assistant college football coach and the head coach of the Beaufort Academy football team. He wrote an article for the "Island Packet" in Hilton Head, S.C. that was published on September 7. The link for the entire story follows ... but here are a few highlights:

"I am approaching college football differently this these days.

After decades of coaching the likes of the Clemson Tigers, the Miami Hurricanes, the East Carolina Pirates, the Ole Miss Rebels and the Duke Blue Devils, I need a change. After years of watching Wolverines, Gators, Bulldogs, Wolfpack, Nittany Lions and other Division I-A teams battle on television, my interest has wandered.

Maybe it is an age thing, but I now find myself curious to see how the Whittier Poets, Franklin and Marshall's Diplomats, the Kenyon Lords, Heidelberg's Student Princes, Oberlin's Yeoman, Muhlenberg's Mules, Austin's Kangaroos and other similarly named NCAA Division III football teams fare in 2005.

Through most of my adult life, I believed college football was a noble and beneficial part of higher education. However, it has come to the point where this old-school coach can't tolerate many more recruiting and academic scandals, arrests for a wide array of offenses, pranks involving thefts, in-your-face attitudes, clumsy end zone celebrations or the look-at-me mentality.

I have explained to numerous high school players that not every kid can play at Clemson, the University of South Carolina, Georgia or other football factories. However, there are 234 Division III schools playing football, and if a kid is serious about playing in college there is a place for him ... if he is academically eligible. I sincerely hope many are serious, because the football experience, in a small college environment, can open numerous doors to a bright future. Being successful in football isn't about playing in front of 90,000 people, it's about education and interacting with classmates who someday could be a senator or a CEO of a Fortune 500 company."

Complete Story

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