January 9, 2013

WAZZU fans are kidding themselves

(Buy a WSU hat here.)

Deadspin just released their story on the alleged abuse that Mike Leach and his coaching staff unleashed on his players. Looking through it, I can't say that anything is illegal or can be considered abuse, but if I were a parent or player - I definitely wouldn't go to WSU. Why? Leach treats his players like crap. Simply put.

Example one...

Sources and documents obtained by Deadspin recount clashes between training staff and coaches over player safety, and physical—and nearly physical—altercations between coaches and players. They describe "dangerously excessive" workouts used as punishments, including an episode in which coaches supposedly sprayed players in the face with water from a hose while making them exercise in a sandpit in cold weather.

Sure that isn't abuse but it's the kind of workout you probably don't even see in a boot camp. I can get past tough workouts in the sandpit, however, it's the treatment of injury that really disturbs me.

The father of a player in good standing with the football program told Deadspin that the conflict between the old training staff and the new coaches had to do with how aggressive the coaches were about influencing players to return from injuries before they were ready.

"I think this staff is definitely more aggressive in that sense," he said. Players who got hurt, he said, were placed at the bottom of the depth chart when they returned, where they risked missing up to half a season trying work their way back up. "There was this sense of being punished for being hurt, for sure," he said, "so naturally a kid doesn't want to lose his starting spot to hide his injury because he doesn't want to lose his spot."

The source said he knew Drake had a great reputation as trainer "only through my own kid's experience due to my kid getting hurt a fair amount of times. Talking with Bill, he was always an outstanding guy and I always felt like he had the best interest of the athlete in mind."

Another parent said coaches had been trying to cut injured players from the team in the spring, even if the injuries were not severe. The efforts to convince players "their careers were over" were a source of contention with the old training staff, the source said.

Again, not abuse, but it shows no real consideration for the student-athlete. Throw in that WSU's head football trainer sent a letter of complaint to Bill Moos, the athletic director, and that WSU completely threw Marquess Wilson under the bus... I just don't see why athletes would want to come to this school. I understand that tough practices are something that happen all across the nation on football teams - but this has almost a "We don't care about our players" attitude that won't exactly attract five-star recruits.

Looking at the comment section and Facebook, lots of WSU fans were saying "well case closed, nothing found by anyone, clean program" but what they're ignoring is that everybody has now seen how Leach treats his players. It's all over the internet. When he goes out to recruit players, they're going to bring this up.

"So you want me to come to the smallest football program in the Pac-12, one that hasn't had a winning season in god knows when and you're going to treat me like that?"

Yeah good luck Cougs.

I'm not saying any of this is illegal or anything like that, but what I am saying is that Leach now has a bigger image problem and so does WSU. It may be just a philosophy change, but you're really ignoring the fact that parents will be concerned where they're sending their kids and they'll pile over all this info. Sure if WSU is a kid's only choice he'll go, but good recruits are usually courted by several different schools.

If Leach doesn't get the on-field product turned around - good lord, WSU is in serious trouble.

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