words_dora williams. illustration_claudia fernandes.
Hurricanes’ football of the 80’s went hand in hand with two words: attitude and winning. Nicknames like the Convicts and the Bad Boys of the 80’s followed the team for most of the 90’s and early 2000’s. The Canes were known for hard hits and recklessness. Players were involved in everything from drug possession and violence to sexual assault and gun issues.
At the time, President Edward Foote made quite an effort to reform the disorderly behavior. However, his attempts were futile, and the U Train kept steam rolling through fast and dangerous lifestyles.
Things took a positive turnaround in 2006 when UM alumnus Randy Shannon was named head coach. During his four seasons as the football team’s head honcho only one player was ever arrested. Until recently, the football department had gone nearly incident free and imposed harsh punishments strengthened by the now resolved NCAA investigation. Unfortunately, history does tend to repeat itself.
In July of 2014 linebackers Alexander Figueroa and JaWand Blue were arrested and charged with sexual battery, a crime to which they pled guilty to. Earlier this month it was decided by the university that defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad would be barred from this semester’s activities, including football activities and attending classes, as result of a physical altercation between him and his roommate earlier in the year.
Adding to what seems like a list of never ending blows to the football department is the most recent incident involving redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen. On the morning of September 15, Olsen was arrested for driving under the influence and refusing to offer a urine sample. In addition, he had six ID’s from different states; one of those belongs to teammate Ronnie Regula. The athletics department suspended Olsen indefinitely, and he had just completed a two-game suspension after violating team rules.
Moving forward, it is important to note that the university has taken an entirely new approach when it comes to discipline: when the proof is undeniable or a player admits to violating rules he is immediately dismissed from campus. There is no leniency if he to be a student-athlete, he is treated as any other student. UM has worked very hard to emphasize the “student” in student-athlete.
Most significantly, players need to understand that whatever action they take on or off the field not only affects them but it also affects their team. Every position is a crucial part; it doesn’t matter if you’re a 3rd or 4th stringer, your actions bring consequences to your team.