The Cult of the Cutthroat Coach: Edsall and the Sound of Player Silence

Maryland Coach Randy Edsall is playing with fire. We’ve all read about his stubborn unwillingness to allow his second-string quarterback, Danny O’Brien, a release to transfer and play at Vanderbilt ther Coach who originally recruited and coached O’Brien at Maryland.

Here’s a good summary in ESPN’s ACC Blog by Heather Dinich of the rising tide of entirely justified and withering criticism Edsall and Maryland have gotten over the recent weeks. Edsall’s unconscionable behavior is just one more glimpse behind the Good-guy, Father-Figure facade worn by so many college coaches. It’s a cutthroat business, with oftentimes cutthroat coaches. Because so much money is now at stake, and because college coaches are now paid millions annually — often with incentive-based bonuses.

Edsall thinks he can get away with it just because the NCAA rules allow it —  even though his “under-my-thumb” approach to O’Brien resembles the forced (but paid) participation in year-round athletic training characteristic of 1980’s East German state-run sport operations. Or that scene from Cool Hand Luke, where the Prison Guard tells Luke, “You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice you got yourself two sets. You ain’t gonna need no third set, ’cause you gonna get your mind right.”)

But here’s what’s gone unnoticed: the complete silence of all NCAA athletes on this vitally important issue. None of them want to rock the boat. Many  have been told, implicitly or explicitly, that they should not be Tweeting.  College athletes have no voice, and the constant threat of losing playing time keeps them silent.  They need to unite, to protect their own interests. Start tweeting: #freedannyo’brien

About brewonsouthu

lawyer, with interest in college sports and NCAA oversight and decisions, and sports generally.
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