Last week, news broke that Louisville football would be welcoming Josh Harvey-Clemons into the fold. Harvey-Clemons, an ultra-talented safety, was dismissed from Georgia by Mark Richt after multiple violations of team rules. These violations reportedly stemmed from Harvey-Clemons’ use of drugs. This, of course, led to Kentucky fans resorting to many of their favorite standbys in regards to the morality of the Louisville football team. Admittedly, these attacks on the character of the Louisville football program are merited if one takes issue with a college program accepting troubled pasts. Harvey-Clemons joins a long-line of players–and coaches–leaving their former roles in a less than wholesome manner. Bobby Petrino, Michael Dyer, Clint Hurtt, and Willie Williams, to name a few, each arrived at Louisville boasting extreme talent in their craft, but tainted with multiple ethical issues.
Clearly, taking these types of players is evidence of a win at all costs type of attitude. There is no other way to spin this. It’s not about giving second chances. These second chances wouldn’t be given if it weren’t for the potential payoff that these players provide. But is it actually unacceptable in the eyes of the BBN? What if Kentucky football were to add Dorial Green-Beckham, the wide-receiver phenom who was dismissed from Missouri last week? And what about Devonta Pollard, a former five star basketball star that could be a formidable addition to the backcourt if the Harrison’s decide to depart for the NBA?
For me, part of the pleasure I take from cheering for a team is the belief that I’m cheering for good people, ready to seize the opportunity they have been given. I understand that collegiate sports have changed. College athletics are a lucrative business and the more you win the more money you make. I also understand that college athletes are human–none of them will be angels, especially at 18-22 years old. A line has to be drawn somewhere, however. I, for one, would have an extremely hard time rooting for Bobby Petrino to win games for my school. I also wouldn’t relish the chance to cheer for multiple players who have been discarded by their previous institutions for serious legal issues. I also see the flipside of the coin. Why should I, as a fan, care about anything but winning? If Dorial Gree-Beckham will help Kentucky win football games, would it be so terrible if I wanted him to play for Kentucky?
I truly don’t know the answer to these questions. Some Kentucky fans pined for Bobby Petrino. Many of those same Kentucky fans probably bashed Louisville for hiring him. Which is it? Do you care about the moral indiscretions in Kentucky players and coaches pasts?