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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

How Can You Keep Them On The Farm ...

Apparently, in the eyes of Minnesota Golden Gophers athletes, Minnesota's natural beauty is a terrific attraction for high school recruits. Unfortunately, some of the student hosts gave recruits too close a look at some of our beauties:

Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi said he will investigate recruiting practices within the football program after learning that high school prospects went to several Minneapolis bars and a strip club during an official recruiting visit in December.

Three prospects acknowledged Tuesday that they were part of a group that visited bars as minors and that several were served alcohol. A group also went to Deja Vu, a downtown strip club that admits patrons 18 and older and does not serve alcohol.

I am certain that high-school prospects would like nothing better than to go to strip clubs and get tanked, but the question is how a public university allowed such a thing to happen. Going to the strip clubs is bad enough, of course, and if I were a parent of one of the recruits, the university president would be getting an angry phone call from me tout suite. But allowing underage recruits to drink alcohol in nightclubs calls into question the liability of the university (and Minnesota taxpayers) had someone gotten injured or killed as a result of intoxication. The state drinking age here is 21, as it is in most states. I suspect even some of the "student hosts" couldn't have bought a legal drink, let alone their guests.

Players and recruits tried their best to protect Glen Mason, the football head coach for the Gophers, and his staff:

"Coach Mason and Coach Browning [assistant coach, Mitch] told the players not to act up and to keep it calm," Kershaw said. "The coaches didn't have any part of it. The hosts really were low-key, too. It was mostly the recruits who went out together."

Sorry, but as a taxpayer and parent of a potential student, I don't buy that. If the entirety of Glen Mason's direction to his student hosts was "Don't act up and keep it calm," then someone isn't taking their jo seriously enough. Coach Mason and his staff have the responsibility to run a recruitment program that doesn't allow for the recruits to be placed in dangerous situations. Simply calling on a few players to show the kids around town with no direction and no supervision is unacceptable to me, and should be unacceptable to all Minnesotans. If Mason can't be bothered to manage his own recruitment program, perhaps the university should see fit to reassign his multimillion-dollar contract to someone else who can handle the responsibility.

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12:35 PM in Sports | Permalink


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Apparently you are not in tune with the real world of college football recruiting. I have been recruited and I have played host, and let me tell you that strip clubs and throwing a few back is par for the course. Excuse my mixed metaphor.

Posted by: David at Jan 28, 2004 10:26:37 PM