Don’t take after Little Johnny

Paige Parks

In light of the recent mishaps spiraling around the collegiate athletic world, viewers have been forced to make an opinion on the roles of student athletes. Recently, it seems, the athletes we hold to such high standards are the ones that fail us most.

Probably the most overused example is that of Heisman winner, and Texas A&M, QB Johnny Manziel who was accused of selling autographs, a violation of NCAA rules. However, though some people would like to believe that he is the sole offender, many other schools and players have been accused of similar acts. The Oklahoma State football program is under investigation due to claims of cash payments, drugs and misconduct. Last April, Alabama football player D.J. Fluker admitted to being paid during his time with the Crimson Tide on Twitter.

As much as people would like to write these off as merely poor decisions, it forces us to take a look again at what we accredit to student athletes and what they must uphold. Saying that student athletes must be perfect because of the school they represent is a bit over demanding, but the reasoning may be valid. A student athlete is a leader in the school, solely because it is them who receive the most publicity. An athlete represents their school just as much as any other student, but had it not been for the growth of high school sports coverage, they would not have greater responsibilities than that of an average student.

So, yes athletes do have more responsibilities and are to set an example for the school. After all, doesn’t it seem contradictory for an athlete who is praised for their hard work to be cheating in their academic classes? As Lone Star Cup winners, we have proven that we excel in almost every extra-curricular activity. This is no small feat. This achievement has brought a spotlight with it. As athletes who contributed to the winning of the cup, we are echoes of our school.

Many coaches hammer this into the minds of their players by limiting their contact with the press and instilling core values into their programs. For example, Coach Willis requires his approval for football players who are not captains to talk to the media. This prevents any comments said by players to be twisted or morphed to have different meanings.

The expectations, when explained as a laundry list of what not to do, may seem like an insurmountable amount of pressure, but in the end all that is really required of them is to do what is morally right. This lesson of right and wrong, which we have been learning our whole lives, is exceptionally important to athletes, who possibly have the most to lose.