There has been a lot of media attention regarding the “toxic” environment in college football that has resulted in psychological abuse and in some instances death of athletes. Why is this happening? What has gone wrong? Who or what is to blame?
Ultimately the blame goes to the pressure to win that is directly related to the big money in college football. So where else do we look? Obviously some of the blame goes to the head coach of the college program. He makes the big bucks. He needs to win.
There are other people to blame. What do you know about Strength and Conditioning coaches? They have evolved from helpers in the gym to overlords of the off season workouts. Their domain is the weight room where they are even shielded from the view of the head coach.
During the winter and summer months new NCAA rules keep head coaches and their assistants at a distance from the players. This is because in 1991 the NCAA enacted limits on official practice time for athletes but exempted strength coaches from those limits. Strength coaches are allowed to “guide” players through “voluntary” workouts year round.
In 2012, 42 football strength coaches earned $200,000 per year or more. The rise of strength coaches with year round access to players who have “voluntary” workouts coincides with a series of incidents in which college football players have been hospitalized or killed. Players are frequently pushed beyond their physical limits by the strength coaches who are motivated to develop super athletes.
An expert on conditioning was quoted as saying that college football’s dirty little secret is that we are killing our players by working them to hard/ These workouts are primarily non-traumatic and occur during the off season.
Something must be done.