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COMMENTARY: Time to Recognize that Football, Fraternity House Parties Do Not Mix

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After an abysmal 4-8 season, the Razorback football team finally showed some fight. Unfortunately, this fight happened off the football field. Two football players have sat out at least one practice because of an ongoing investigation about a third-degree battery charge on the night of April 7, Razorback coach Chad Morris said. No names have been reported, but the fight took place at the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity house.

This is the first time the public will see how Morris handles disciplining his team. Since being hired back in December, he hasn’t had discipline issues to deal with, but this instance could give fans insight into how he handles disobedience. Not to overreact here, but this occurrence could determine how well his stay at the UofA goes.

Disciplining players is a part of sports. I distinctly remember a time playing high school basketball in which my coach found the team playing Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” before the game in the locker room. For most schools, this wouldn’t have been a problem, but at a private Christian school, this was a mastodonian problem. My team ran so much the next day at practice, I wanted to quit then and there. It was not a fun experience, but believe me, nobody in that locker room was going “thrift shopping” again.

The same goes for college coaches but with more extreme consequences. Former Razorback coach Bret Bielema made players carry a foam mattress during practice as a form of punishment. Coaches want to develop a relationship with players and be their friend, but they also want and need to be respected. Morris might also want to establish some ground rules when it comes to his players and the fraternity houses.

What’s the phrase some parents love telling their children when they want to stay out later than curfew? “Nothing good happens after midnight.” If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times. Despite what my 16-year-old mind thought, most of the time parents are right. Nothing productive happens when the sun goes down. Maybe Morris should take this phrase and apply it to his team: nothing good happens at a frat house.

Before Kimpel Hall is picketed by students wearing pastel-colored shorts or shirts with Greek letters sewn onto a frocket, hear me out. For football players, nothing good happens at a fraternity house.

If a football player is a part of a fraternity and wants to hang out with his fraternity brothers, that’s fine. Most of the problems occur when a football player visits a fraternity they do not belong to and disagreements take place.

The rule won’t be met with overwhelming applause. Everyone likes to drink “a cold one with the boys,” but as a collegiate athlete, the standard is higher. At a school that competes in the Southeastern Conference, everyone knows who the football players are, and as a football player, all eyes are trained on you the moment you walk under those Greek letters and into the house. Minding your P’s and Q’s is difficult enough by yourself. Throw in some intoxicated students, and the odds of misbehavior are high.

Is it fair? Absolutely not. In a perfect world, college athletes would get to experience college life just like a normal student. Unfortunately, college athletes aren’t normal students. If Morris wants to send a message to his team and establish a culture of respect in his program, he should ban football players from entering fraternity houses.

 

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