Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Community News Network

November 1, 2013

Coaches grapple with line between discipline and abuse

(Continued)

What disturbed former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma most about the endless replays of the Rutgers footage was that the players appeared so inured to the treatment that they didn't fight back.

"These guys are warriors - college athletes trained to push their bodies to the limit, yet they didn't feel empowered enough to stand up for themselves," said Huma, president of the National College Players Association, an advocacy group for college athletes across the county. "You wonder where else this has happened, where players feel they can't stick up for themselves."

If there's a takeaway from the ugly episode, Diana Cutaia, founder of Coaching Peace Consulting, hopes it awakens athletes to their right to "push back" against extreme tactics and convinces athletic directors to intervene when coaches simply rage rather than instruct.

"It's scary to be an 18-year-old and be in a situation where your college coach has national attention, is very powerful," Cutaia said. "You're going to go and say, 'He dropped the F-bomb on me three times,' and most likely somebody's going to say, 'Suck it up!' But that child has every right to say, 'I don't deserve to be treated this way.'"

In the past, college athletes bombarded with abuse might have quit the team or transferred. Today, they have other recourses, such as a smartphone or the 140-character global megaphone that is Twitter.

In the case of Georgetown's women's basketball, Hogshead-Maker applauds the players who lodged the complaints about their coach's verbal abuse, the audio of which was captured on a cellphone and aired by WJLA (Channel 7).

"I can tell you, that took a lot of guts," Hogshead-Makar said. "Scholarship athletes have very little power. Very few have multiyear scholarships, so if they have a bad year or get injured, it can be over. For many of these athletes, it's their ticket to education - not just a ticket to the NBA or NFL - but to education."

While a recording of an ear-blistering rant may be an accurate snapshot of one heated moment, it rarely reflects the complex relationship that underpins it. Moreover, Thompson noted, it doesn't reflect the vast majority of coaches' methods.

"What can be inaccurate here is the perception that every coach behind closed-doors is a maniac and that the real world is just now finding out," said Thompson, a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches' board of directors.

Nonetheless, ubiquitous cellphones and social media have brought new scrutiny of coaching methods.

Said Ackerman: "Obviously we're living in an age when things can be recorded. That wasn't the case 30, 20, 10 years ago. Coaches can't even be confident anymore that the locker room is a confidential place. I think every coach in the country has got to be paying attention to this."

So do athletic directors.

Cutaia, who held the post at Division III Wheelock College in Boston, believes athletic directors should observe practices, give feedback and emphasize the university's values.

"We're not training coaches around the ideas of building character and teaching skills," Cutaia lamented. "We're not even teaching sports anymore; we're teaching how to win games."

Yet that's often the mandate for coaches of Division I teams that pay the athletic department's bills, keep alumni donation flowing and serve, in many ways, as the university's public face. In such cases, nurturing becomes a luxury.

Says Hogshead-Makar: "If the dynamic is that the coach has to win or they're out, that winning is an economic imperative because if you don't win 80 percent of your games you're in the hole $10 million, if you're not going to keep your job if you don't keep up those numbers - you're looking at abuse right there."

Text Only
Community News Network
  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit TX Gov Perry in Washington: 'Confident' in Case Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Facebook