FURTHER REVIEW: Decisions matter off the field
Soon football’s regular season will kick off across the country.
As the recent headlines show, what happens on the field this year stems back to the roots of the offseason.
Look no further than LSU and Oregon, the two powerhouse programs set to kick off the college football season Sept. 3.
Prior to last week, the Ducks seemed to have the disadvantages, as they were the ones set to venture from the Pacific Northwest to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas for the season opener.
Controversy began when Oregon drew NCAA scrutiny for paying $25,000 to Willie Lyles for bogus scouting services.
Of course, there is not enough room in this column to go into every detail of that situation, but it was the first black eye for the Ducks.
Then, standout cornerback Cliff Harris was caught driving 118 miles per hour with a suspended license. Quarterback Darron Thomas was in the car, which was rented by a university employee. Thomas claims he was asleep at the time.
Last summer, Thomas was in a vehicle with former quarterback Jeremiah Masoli when they were stopped for a violation. Marijuana was found in the car then.
In the latest incident, the patrolman asked Harris, “Who’s got the marijuana in the car?”
He replied, “We smoked it all.”
Not sounding so good for the Ducks, right?
Down South, the Tigers have rallied in a big way when it comes to off-field troubles.
After the close of camp, LSU players kept a tradition of breaking curfew, and met at a bar near campus. At some point, a fight broke out involving an undetermined number of players.
Now, the team is wrapped up in possible legal action.
Instead of grabbing traditional offseason headlines, like features on a back-up punter or a walk-on quarterback, the sports sections read like the police blotter lately. Stories related to the brawl have appeared on the front pages of Baton Rouge’s daily paper for days, and as expected, websites have been filled with chatter.
Hopefully, such incidents will serve as a lesson to other teams and players. Becoming a winner takes more than just success on the field.
It is imperative to make positive choices off the field to ensure opportunities to get into games and have a chance to shine.