Today the Ohio State football team, through Head Coach Urban Meyer, announced disciplinary action against four — four! — student athletes.
Running back Carlos Hyde was suspended from football activities pending the outcome of criminal and student code of conduct investigations. Hyde reportedly was named in a police report relating to an alleged assault of a woman in a Columbus bar. In the meantime, cornerback Bradley Roby was involved in a disturbance in a bar in Bloomington, Indiana and faces misdemeanor battery charges. A freshman, Marcus Baugh, won’t be participating in team activities and will have to sit out the first game after being arrested for underage possession of alcohol, and yet another freshman, defensive lineman Tim Gardner, was sent home and will not be part of the 2013 team after being charged by Columbus police with “obstruction of official business.”
I hate to read this kind of news, because it is an embarrassment to the University. It plays into every stereotype about Ohio State being a football factory. After dealing with a series of NCAA violations that left the team ineligible for a bowl last year, the Buckeyes had been working hard to refurbish the team’s, and the school’s, reputation. This news just makes the effort to restore the University’s reputation that much harder.
I recognize that student-athletes are young, and young people often make bad decisions. That rationale may work for freshmen, but there is no excuse for upperclassmen like Hyde and Roby to be in a bar in the wee hours, putting themselves in a position where bad things predictably could happen. They are supposed to be leaders, not problems. Rather than setting good examples, they’ve made Urban Meyer’s job that much more difficult — and have provided more fodder for more crass jokes and snide comments about The Ohio State University.