Do colleges and universities need criminals to compete?
By Phillip Haywood
ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Allen Pinkett, the former Notre Dame star, Houston Oiler and New Orleans Saint has made an inflammatory comment about his alma maters football program which has angered folks in South Bend Indiana. Since Lou Holtz left the program the Fighting Irish have not been so competitive and they have been through five different coaches since the Holtz era. Furthermore, they have not competed for a National Championship in quite some time.
This may be the problem why the Fighting Irish are on the decline; their academic standards are on a totally different scale from other colleges and universities. That in itself makes it very difficult to recruit the kind of student-athletes that schools like Alabama, USC, Oregon and LSU recruit. Obviously they have a high academic standard and that is something that could be possibly hurting their program.
Pinkett, who is an analyst for the Irish has been with them since 2001 and has seen the program go through a multitude of changes. We know that prestigious football programs want to win but Pinkett went on to say that Notre Dame needs more “criminals” in their program to get an edge. What Pinkett was really trying to say is that the Irish needs a different breed of football players in order to compete with the upper echelon of college football teams. Of course you want the student-athlete, but the Irish seek out the cream of the crop. They are no different from Stanford; however they have gone out and found the type of football player that fits their system. The Irish just cannot seem to find some of the tougher players who want to come to South Bend. Here is a prime example, Ryan Green the #1 all purpose running back from right here in St. Pete had the Irish on his list of schools but other variables may have been a factor such as the cold weather and the distance that his family would have to travel to see him play.
According to the Webster’s Dictionary definition of the word criminal as a person who commits a crime, is that what the Irish really needs? I think not! If you understand the dynamics of college football the missing ingredient at Notre Dame is hardnosed African American football players.
Finally, Paul Hornung said it best, “In order for Notre Dame to win we must get the Black athlete.” “Playing eight bowl teams from the previous year and playing one of the toughest schedules in the country we need the Black athlete to change our fortunes.” Let’s be honest here, no one criticized Hornung for his comment. However, it was not what Pinkett said it was how he said it that landed him in hot water. Honestly, look at the top football programs around the country and see who they are mostly comprised of. Look at the SEC teams that have won the last 5 National Championships and they have a high percentage of African Americans athlete’s. The truth is that Hornung understands what it takes to win in college football today and he spoke the truth. The same can be said for Allen Pinkett, however he chose the wrong words to describe the key ingredients that the Irish needs to regain their prominence and swagger that has eluded them since the days of Lou Holtz. A criminal belongs in jail not at a higher institution of learning playing collegiate football.
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