Forget March Madness -- The real trouble goes on in February
Little-known fact: February takes its name from the Roman "februum," which means "purification," which strikes me as ironic, considering how many college football players seem to view the month as a four-week window to get polluted.
Even by the Dionysian standards of this sport, Feb. 2009 brought an inordinate number of DUIs, OWIs (Operating While Intoxicated), MIPs (Minor in Possession), and YGTBFKMs (You've Got To Be Freaking Kidding Me) -- the only appropriate response to the story of Iowa defensive back
Perhaps it was the same saboteur who
"You see this happening when guys don't have that daily structure" that football provides, says Oklahoma defensive coordinator
There was some sadness in Venables' voice. Sooners wide receiver
Because they live in fear of such bad-news calls, coaches are as proactive as possible to avoid getting them. During the season, Oklahoma coach
"But there's always a few guys sitting there thinking 'He's talking about these other guys, not me. I'm still bulletproof.'"
Or, in the case of Arkansas quarterback
Marijuana was present in a urine sample provided by Florida State wide out
The golden arches played a supporting role, likewise, in the arrest of Washington State quarterback
While the fan site's loyalty is admirable, an absence of puke wouldn't exactly leave Lobbestael, who is 19, on the moral high ground. The freshman was charged with being a minor exhibiting the signs of having consumed alcohol, a gross misdemeanor, and was suspended from the team.
Ball State kicker
Moralists and teetotalers will disapprove of that story, because the coach escapes punishment. I share it anyway because, truth be told, imploring young people to party responsibly is a tough, tough sell. They will nod in solidarity during the seminar on binge drinking, then a few days (or hours) later, raise their voices -- and glasses -- to the chorus of
My message for ball players entering the alluring saturnalia of the offseason: Guys, if you're going to party, find the golden mean. Seek moderation in all things. You're an athlete, your body is your meal ticket. Be good to it. Don't pollute it.
Because, next thing you know, spring football will be upon you.
"We start today," Venables said Wednesday. That's a short off-season, I sympathized, but he wasn't having it. "I love it," he said. "It's an exciting time." And a relief, I suspect, to impose a bit of structure on the lives of some guys who can use all they can get.