In response to all the controversy surrounding Bethune-Cookman’s football program, interim President Dr. Lawrence Drake II held a special meeting with the team.
He was accompanied by school athletic director Reggie Theus as well as several former football players and coaches, including All-Pro cornerback Rashean Mathis and Pro-Bowl defensive back Nick Collins to give the team words of encouragement and assurance.
During the meeting, players asked questions and voiced their concerns to Drake and Theus regarding the conditions surrounding the football program.
He also told the players that while the school is moving on from Ed Reed, they are in the midst of a search for a new head coach.
“The final decision was we were not going to continue negotiating Ed Reed’s contract,” said Drake. “We have a number of coaches…we are going to name a coach within the next 10 days. We have a number of great candidates who are coming to the campus of which a couple of you will be able to interview as well. This is the first time we have ever done that but I want a couple of players to talk to their colleagues, and teammates about what it means to hire a coach.”
An unnamed player representative spoke out saying he understood the president’s decision not to move forward with Reed as the team’s football coach with his teammates standing in solidarity.
Concerns the players brought up in the meeting included a need for better nutrition, sharing helmets and cleats and more qualified trainers. They also wanted adequate locker rooms and showers and a quality training facility.
Drake spoke about how he was “embarrassed” when he saw the football field and that he was unaware of players having to share equipment and cleats or that there was mold on helmets.
Theus told the players that plans are underway to create an on-campus practice field and to renovate locker rooms.
“They’re putting $3 million into the stadium locker rooms,” said Theus. “You will have those two things by August and you can hold myself and President Drake accountable for that.”
Drake also took the time to hold the players accountable wanting better results and better conduct from each player.
“I don’t want to see you kicking in a door I have to repair. I don’t want to see you leaving trash on your floor which ends up being the worst floor in a dormitory or residence hall,” he said. “I get complaints all the time from other students about my student-athletes. I make an excuse for them sometimes but other times I don’t have anything. What I’m saying to you is that you want stuff and we want stuff.
“We want an excellent group of young men to go out here and excel in life. Since you play athletics as a way for you to do that, then we want you to be good athletes. We have to know that what we have today is not working, it’s not good enough.”
Here is the question?Why did it come to this in the first place? You seem to be back pedaling. No college football program should be going through any of those things. That all falls on administration and coache(es). If my child informed me of these issues they should have been handled immediately. Once again we have seen the I don’t care attitude of some HBCU’s. Where is the money going? When alumni give, where does it go. Accountability must be at the forefront for us to move forward.