Kevin Sumlin on players’ offseason misconduct: We’ve got a whole education process for players

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Kevin Sumlin isn’t happy about quarterback Kenny Hill’s recent arrest, and Hill is currently suspended for his public intoxication charge, per school policy. Since Hill isn’t practicing, it makes it tough to win a starting job against returner Matt Joeckel and early enrollee Kyle Allen.

Texas A&M has had a turbulent offseason with off-field misconduct. The first casualty was safety Kameron Miles’ dismissal over a reported theft incident. Defensive lineman Isaiah Golden was arrested for pot and has since withdrawn from the school, although he is expected back by fall. Linebacker Darian Claiborne, who was arrested last December on a marijuana charge, was also arrested alongside Golden for a noise violation. The latest arrest came from the aforementioned Hill, who was passed out in a planter box.

Sumlin commented on Hill’s status for the first time yesterday, according to the San Antonio Express.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” Sumlin said.

Sumlin’s frustration and disappointment isn’t surprising, considering Texas A&M has a process for educating players on making the right decisions.

“I think people think we don’t do anything,” Sumlin said in a press conference. “We’ve got a whole educational process with our young guys when they come in. The ‘CHAMPS’ class puts them through the structure of basically growing up. It helps guys with a sense of urgency about time management, and about on-the-field and off-the-field situations.

“(As for) drug and alcohol counselors, we have a couple of those guys come in at least once a semester. We have a complete curriculum and educational process. Yeah … (Hill’s arrest) is disappointing.”

Texas A&M’s associate athletic director for media relations Alan Cannon spoke with the San Antonio Express about a little bit more of the educational process.

“We have a new student conference for all students, and then the athletic department has its own freshmen orientation,” Cannon said. “… They’re also reminded that not only are they representing themselves and their families, but the athletic department and the university — so handle yourself accordingly on campus and off campus.”

The bottom line is that schools can educate players to make all the right choices, but they can’t control them, and the classes can’t ensure they will always make the right one. As long as schools have a plan in place, it will certainly help some players make the right decisions, while others will decide to make poor choices, regardless of having a class.

Photo Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

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  • In High School the parents do some of the parenting and the coach does just a little of the upbringing. No wonder high school coaches don’t know everything about the player’s records or behavior trends. So when recruitment happens, the college program has to dig a little to get some warning signs if available at all. Then the freedom of college life away from parents accelerates trends. New circles of friends move young men in different directions. Student-athlete education programs are not created equal. Who is conducting them? What is the motivation to understand and conform? Two important enforcers have to be visible and vocal, the head coach and the junior-senior leadership. So I wonder if Sumlin is all-in. Did the college community at Houston scrutinize the same way? With 120 young men to watch, some on the way up, some on the way out, even the best recruiting is going to admit some misfits.