"Two Cottonwood football players [Cottonwood H.S., Utah] were suspended this week after they admitted to school and team officials that they drank alcohol at a school dance, sources close to the team said."
Wow, twice in one week.
This past Wednesday, I detailed the suspension (and some attitudes about that suspension) of eight athletes out of a high school in New York. In addition, I have used this blog to discuss athletic codes, changes occurring in them over the years, their purpose, and my own feelings on their importance in the following pieces:
Now, again, on November 3rd, comes an article out of The Salt Lake Tribune (Cottonwood stars suspended for two games) about two "defensive leaders" on a playoff-bound football team being suspended for the same type of issue.
Of course using the term "epidemic," (as in my title) is somewhat sarcastic, however, only somewhat. I have made it a point in previous articles that this type of violation can be found in area and local news media pretty regularly. And these reports only include the incidents that were actually "publicized," and the athletes who were actually "caught."
I will go out on a limb here, and not too far of a limb really, and state that on just about every weekend, in just about every town or city in the U.S., from just about every high school that exists, there are parties or gatherings where high school athletes are engaging in consumption of alcoholic beverages, or other behavior prohibited by the athletic code that they signed.
What is simply amazing to me, unbelievable really, is how easily so many young athletes disconnect themselves from the commitment they made when signing their school's athletic code. It is almost as if they don't see this type of choice as a reflection of poor character, being hypocritical, and/or unethical. For too many athletes (and it is a lot) it seems to be no big deal, until they get caught.
Actually, you get the same feel, regarding attitudes, from several of the commenters (found at the bottom of the article) when reading their perspective on the issue. Their concerns seem to be a lot less focused on this behavior being a "problem" and more centered on the negative publicity, the effect on the game, or something else. This is not true with all, but it is with many.
As cliche' as this may sound, sometimes it is hard to see the forest through the trees; disheartening to say the least.