SEE NO EVIL
One of the more appalling off-the-field incidents involving athletes this year was a dispute in January that began when three Georgia Tech football players, apparently drunk, verbally abused two young women at a pizza parlor near campus (SI, Feb. 27). One of the players, 6'4", 245-pound linebacker Kevin Salisbury, ended up punching Tech student Lisa Steffee in the face, breaking her nose. Salisbury and 6'7", 321-pound offensive tackle Mike Mooney then beat up Steffee's boyfriend. An off-duty policeman and Jim Lavin, a 6'5", 272-pound guard, also became involved in the fracas.
Soon afterward Mooney pleaded guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct and was fined $975. Lavin pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct and was fined $650. In March the two players violated their university-imposed probation, had their scholarships revoked and left school. Salisbury remained on scholarship, and still awaits trial on a charge of aggravated battery.
Astonishingly, not one of the three players will miss a game because of his misdeeds. Coach Bobby Ross has given Mooney and Lavin, who attended summer school, their scholarships back and told them they have clean slates. Salisbury has never been punished, even though he admitted hitting Steffee, who had to undergo plastic surgery as a result of the blow.
A school with integrity would tell players like Salisbury, Mooney and Lavin to stay off the football field for a while—maybe all season—and think about what they did. Georgia Tech has decided to forgive and forget and concentrate on football.
A SOUND PHILOSOPHY
By contrast, defending national champion Notre Dame did not hesitate to bar three of its top football players from playing this season. Defensive tackle George Williams was declared academically ineligible, and tailback Tony Brooks and All-America linebacker Michael Stonebreaker were dropped for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.
Brooks, the second-leading rusher for the Irish last season, was not even allowed to reenroll in the university. He had been suspended from spring practice for an unspecified rules violation and had withdrawn from school after being implicated in a hit-and-run accident. Stonebreaker had suffered serious knee and hip injuries in a February automobile accident in which he was driving while intoxicated. The university placed him on probation, but he apparently violated that probation recently by driving a friend's car on campus. "These matters are handled by university officials," said Irish coach Lou Holtz in announcing the banishments. "They do not consult with me."
Holtz seemed to find the punishment a bit harsh, but he bit the bullet. "If you cannot support the university, you need not be employed here," he said. "Notre Dame has a philosophy, and I trust that philosophy."
AND CLEAN UP YOUR ACT
To his credit, San Diego Padres pitcher Bruce Hurst never uses profanity. He does lose his temper at times. When a spectator got excessively abusive toward him the other day, Hurst really lost control and snapped, "Oh, go wash your car!"