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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Arizona athletes’ arrests show how college sports’ culture needs to change

    Last week senior Jesse Perry, a former Arizona men’s basketball player, became another Wildcat scholarship athlete to have a run-in with the law this year. He’s charged with felony domestic assault and, if found guilty, the UA community, along with Perry, will have their reputations damaged as a result.

    Multiple UA scholarship athletes have been arrested for numerous charges this year alone. Four football players were arrested in March and charged with crimes such as criminal trespassing and assault.

    Then there’s Delashaun Dean, a former Arizona receiver, was arrested in 2010 for possession of a concealed weapon. Dean left Arizona and transferred to Texas A&M-Kingsville. Schools shouldn’t recruit, or give full athletic scholarships, to athletes who break the law. They are sending the wrong message to the public, that as long as you’re an athlete, you can break the law and still get a full ride. Athletic skill is more important to schools than setting an example.

    These sports idols have been blessed with superior talents that give them the incredible opportunity to receive a university education, which should help them flourish and grow into positive role models. Furthermore, they are also given the opportunity to represent their school and community by continuing to pursue their passion, a remarkable opportunity anyone would want. However, if they abuse these opportunities, then they don’t only hurt their reputation, but their school’s and community’s as well.

    One of America’s great laws is that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Perry could very likely be innocent, and he is challenging these domestic violence charges. But he isn’t only defending his own name — these charges drag down the good name of Tucson and the Wildcat family.

    Student-athletes are public figures and if they can’t behave in school they shouldn’t be here, and they certainly shouldn’t be allowed to play again.

    UA recruiting needs to either be more selective or players should be kept on a shorter leash.

    If the UA is accepting or even tolerating student-athletes who have not yet shown that they can represent the school, then officials need to get their priorities straight. If they value profiting from good athletes regardless of their behavior more than the school’s reputation, then a change in leadership is needed.

    Athletics needs to focus on its current athletes and prevent further embarrassment. And for next year, recruiters should be looking at the whole picture with athletes, not just their statistics.

    College athletes are held to a higher standard than their peers and their mishaps are exposed and magnified around the country.

    The college sports culture needs to change from the ground up, and that starts are recruitment and standards.

    — Luke Davis is a pre-journalism sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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