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Look into past, but educate in future

Posted Mar 3, 2011 by Adam Adkins

Updated Mar 4, 2011 at 02:16 AM

During Thursday’s spring football press conference USF coach Skip Holtz was asked about the recent Sports Illustrated/CBS News special report titled Crime in College Football, which included background checks on every player on the roster of a team in SI’s preseason Top 25 for 2010 and revealed that seven percent of those players had been charged or cited for a crime.

Holtz said he wasn’t familiar with the report, but when asked if he believes his staff and USF do enough with background checks on the players they bring into the program, the coach responded that you can never do enough but that he’s confident
the Bulls do their due diligence.

“I’m pretty comfortable with everything and the job that our coaches do in learning about our players, not just as athletes, not just watching their film and saying, ‘Yeah, he can play, take him,’ but going through all the channels with where they are academically, where they are as far as the caliber of people they are as far as the caliber of people they are, talking with different principles, police records, background checks, those type of things,” said Holtz, adding it’s something he also did before coming to USF.

“I think we’re doing a lot to make sure we turn and make sure the players that come in here are going to represent this program the right way, and then when you get them here you have to continue to educate them.”

Holtz said the USF administration recently put together an alcohol awareness program for all student-athletes to attend, and educating his players on topics like female rights, drug prevention and making the right social decisions are incorporated as well, often times through different speakers brought in.

“We try and do everything we can to educate them to make sure that we can eliminate a mistake,” Holtz said. “Anybody can watch a young man make a mistake and say, well that was not a very good choice, that wasn’t a very good decision. But when you ask those questions, what are you doing to help them make those decisions? What are you doing to help prevent a lot of those things? Because coaching to me is eliminating a fumble before it happens.

“Anybody can watch a young man drop the ball and go well, he fumbled. You can’t say, well, don’t fumble. But what did you do to help eliminate the fumble? What did you do to help eliminate making the academic mistakes that he may make? What did you do to help eliminate some of the social mistakes and some of the pitfalls that other athletes have made?

“We have a program here in education, we try to call it a teaching moment. We take every arrest from around the country and put it up on a board for all of our players so we can learn from somebody else’s mistake. We do everything we can to try and make sure you make the right decision with who you’re bringing into the program, and that’s part of recruiting. But you also have to make sure you’re doing enough to educate them.”

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