Another one bites the dust



By H. Jose Bosch

On Wednesday offensive lineman Kurt Wermers announced he was leaving Michigan for greener pastures at Ball State (alma mater of one David Letterman). Normally this move would be nothing more than a blip at the end of the notes section of a more important story.

But Mr. Wermers decided to give Wolverine fans (and journalist and bloggers) something to talk about, albeit for a few seconds. Here’s what he said:

“I really didn’t get along with the new coaches,” Wermers is quoted as saying by of Munster, Ind. “They were bringing in a lot of different kids that were not my kind of crowd.”

sharks1Did they all walk into Schembechler Hall snapping in rhythm like the Jets or the Sharks? Because those were bad crowds. He also said:

“Coach Carr’s staff was a whole different ballgame,” Wermers says in the report. “It was like a family. But when Rodriguez came in it was a whole different feeling. It was more of a business. I figured I’d get out while I could.”

This got me thinking about college athletics in general. Should athletes expect a more familial atmosphere when they sign up? Considering this is an extra-curricular activity, shouldn’t the coaches be more sympathetic to the players’ needs? Almost all college student athletes are just that: student athletes. They bust their butts on the field and in the classroom and it may seem unfair if the volleyball coach starts berating one of his or her obscure players. Some of these kids just want the free education. I respect those athletes, especially the ones who go through college life in obscurity and are still yelled at constantly.

But for football programs like Michigan, Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, USC and even Notre Dame, the overall goal of the program isn’t to graduate fine outstanding gentleman. It’s to win football games.

Does that mean the coaches promote heathenism? No. Well, unless it’s Jim Tressel. (I kid! I kid!) But coaches are under so much pressure to succeed, the extra time a coach could’ve spent pulling a player aside to talk about personal issues is instead spent in a film room or working drills.

The days of football coaches as father figures at the highest level of college football is slowly going away. Some may argue it never existed, but I’m going to give old timers the benefit of the doubt. All coaches will have their favorite players, yes, but it will become increasingly less beneficial for the coach to develop any kind of relationship beyond the ones on the field. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Just highly unlikely.

Kurt Wermers

Kurt Wermers

Wermers didn’t like what he saw and left. I’ll respect that. But I laugh at the idea that he felt cheated or betrayed or that he was missing out on a warm and fuzzy family experience. Kurt, this is the reality of high echelon college football. Coaches are going to ride your tail; teammates are going to be cutthroat while jockeying for position on the depth chart and many fans don’t care how well you’re doing in school if you don’t contribute to the team’s success.

Please, if you ever feel the need to leave another school or a job sometime in the future, don’t talk.

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  1. paulmbanks says

    I wonder how “warm and fuzzy” the atmosphere at the University of Miami is…especially with the “7th floor crew”.

    but seriously, it’s great to see college football is back now…season starts with media day next week!

  2. Jane Coaston says

    Thank god for academic ineligibility. But seriously, don’t the people at ESPN have researchers who can figure out that maybe this kid wouldn’t have dressed anyway before they start rambling about the descent of Michigan Morals on College Gameday? And the whole “not my kind of crowd” thing smacks of some serious issues. What is his “kind of crowd”? Kids without dreadlocks? White kids? I don’t like where this is going and I’m glad he’s gone (except for my continuing concerns about our line).

  3. paulmbanks says

    Is Wermers stuck in high school or something? caring so much abt what crowd he hangs out with

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