Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The things you do for football ....

Well, this was bad - got worse - and looks like our football karma is about to run over our sexual assault dogma.
Three members of the U.S. Naval Academy football team are being investigated for the alleged sexual assault of a female student,
The alleged incident took place in April 2012, when the student attended a party at the off-campus “football house” in Annapolis, Maryland and became intoxicated, her attorney, Susan Burke, said in a statement.

“She woke up at the football house the next morning with little recall of what had occurred. She learned from friends and social media that three football players were claiming to have had sexual intercourse with her while she was incapacitated,"...
Note that timeline? Yep... nothing gets better with time.

There is so much twisted up here. It is mostly the inevidible byproduct of human nature manifesting itself in a fertile environment; ego, people who don't know how to drink, lack of moral courage from bystanders - and if I may mix my sports metaphores, part unforced error; the byproduct of Football Primacy.

Some of the specific 2nd order effects of human nature and Football Primacy at work here:

1. "Football houses" are nothing new and exciting - they have existed for years and not just at Annapolis. They are a common feature supported by grown men who for some reason seem to want to make up for something lacking in their lives by putting so much of their self-esteem and self-worth in young men playing a boys game. They are know by all senior leadership both in uniform and in the coaching staff. They exist, because insecure men allow some MIDN to be more equal than others in order that they can fill some gap in their lives - and the results are expected.  I went to a major land-grant university, and we had the same problem with entitled athletes as well - especially at social gatherings where we had to at least three times a semester call the cops and/or visit the nationally known head coach in order to get the mostly football and basketball players under control. All problems had to do with alcohol and women, not necessary in that order. Nothing is new.  As an interesting side-note, never had a problem with any of the baseball, track, swimming, soccer, rugby or any female athletes at all. Just the opposite, we either dated them or they were in our fraternity. Then again, alumni did not give them "special" treatment. Entitlement and special treatment were all significant variables in the problems we had with athletes. So, it seems, we have the same case at USNA.

2. People who view themselves as deserving with special privileges all of a sudden feel they can get away with anything they want - and can move whatever they need to in order to protect their status all of a sudden feel they are entitled to anything they want? Shocking - that has never happened. This is an ongoing problem at USNA specifically ... but the desire to play football at a certain level is so strong that compromises are made - and the whole body suffers for it.

3. Young women who can't manage their intake of alcohol all of a sudden wake up and find themselves taken advantage of? That has never happened. What is different here is that specifically in the culture around the football players, the loyalty to sports and the players has become larger than the loyalty to fellow MIDN and the Navy. That is the only reason a Shipmate who has stupidly become blackout drunk can be passed around like a multi-use happy-sock during and IO deployment. Every MIDN in that house from the ones that allowed themselves to become blackout drunk, to those who let her wander off by herself to become a victim to those who knew what was going on and shrugged - they all need to step up to the fact that they have some ownership here, they have some responsibility.

The next is very typical of the circle the wagons to protect the sport; Football Uber Alles.
...one of the football players pressured the woman not to cooperate with an initial investigation into the case. She initially followed that advice, but was still “ostracized and retaliated against by the football players and the Naval Academy community.” She was also disciplined for drinking, Burke said in a statement.

In early 2013, the female student decided to seek legal help and the Navy re-opened the investigation, Burke said.

“Over time, the midshipman began to recover from the trauma, and became angered at the lack of justice and retaliation in her case,” she said.
She threatened the football team. Football Uber Alles ... of course. USNA delayed dealing with this - and now they are when the sexual assault feeding frenzy is in full force - but hey - at least they delayed it until football season was over, right?

All this will come out - and one of the central themes will be this - the Navy continues to sell its integrity to play a level of football beyond what it should be. It is only going to get worse as Navy prepares to push to the Big East.

This is, of course, madness. It is something that sadly Congress will have to weigh in on - and perhaps this sorted case will be what it takes for them to take action. 

Extract the cancer of misplaced priorities before it further undermines and institution that should be better than Moo U State.

Navy should be playing football at the same level as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or perhaps even Chicago. There is no reason for it or any of the service academies to play at the major land-grant university level. If people wanted their team to play at that level, then they should have gone NROTC.

We've covered for years the compromises USNA has made to keep football at a certain level - is just isn't worth it and isn't fair to the Navy  or the players involved. All the benefits to be gained by sports can be gained without selling your integrity for just a sport.

As for the sexual assault charge - that will just have to work its way through the system; UCI and all that jazz. The time difference is such that any result will do little but make the Navy and USNA look bad.

It will all end in tears - and who is to blame? A lot to go around there - including the people who support the "football house" - and especially the person who owns the deed on that "house." I hope they have a good umbrella policy.

Let me ask you this question - if this had happened at a party of the golf team - would it have played out the same way? 

UPDATE: Without further comment - here is a little factoid from 2011;
Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo leads the pack. ... . According to USA Today’s figures, he’ll make $1,538,190 in 2011.

That figure puts the Navy coach just above the national average of $1.47 million, according to the report. It also gives him a salary higher than those of Air Force coach Troy Calhoun ($866,250) and Army coach Rich Ellerson ($610,000) put together.

UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo: Well ... the three have been named.


Anonymous said...

Will the NCAA Act again?:

the NCAA Executive Committee acted pursuant to its authority under the NCAA Constitution and Bylaw Provision 4.1.2(e) to resolve core issues of Association-wide import in the Penn State University - RE: Jerry Sandusky case.

From the NCAA website:

Will the NCAA use this process in the future?
The NCAA and its members hope that a similar circumstance would not arise on any other campus in the future – indeed, these events should serve as a call to every single school and athletics department to take an honest look at its campus environment and eradicate the ‘sports are king' mindset. However, should a circumstance arise in which such action is required, the process is available.

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