Four football players from the University of Arizona were arrested last week for charges ranging from trespassing to assault. The charges were made after the players initiated a brawl at a party they were not invited to. The police report says one players “started punching everyone he could reach,” including women.
The University’s response is crucial because the team has started off on the wrong foot with new head coach Rich Rodriguez. Not only does this situation show a lack of current control with his team, Rodriguez has had trouble with his teams in West Virginia and Michigan.
Having control over his team is more than just this one incident for Rodriguez. If he lets this incident pass without sufficient penalties, he will not have the necessary respect from his players. One incident will turn into two, then the build up of incidents will turn the focus from the Wildcats performance on the field to their performance in the courts. Rich Rod cannot afford to lose his team’s respect before he ever coaches a single game in Tuscon.
The next couple weeks are vital for the image of the University of Arizona and their football program. The reputation of the University is at stake if Rodriguez doesn’t take appropriate action. Having a reputation as an institution that allows athletes to skate by after assaulting women is the wrong image to have.