July 19, 2018 | ° F

Hoke’s coaching is complete joke

Student athletes’ safety must be utmost priority for coaches

When it comes to student athlete safety, there’s really no room for debate. There are a lot of things more important than football, and the safety of the players is probably at the top of that list. There’s been research and studies done that show that many athletes who play contact sports, such as those in the NFL, suffer long-term consequences of repetitive head trauma. While there’s more education and awareness of the issue now than there was just a few years ago, there still doesn’t seem to be enough emphasis placed on safety — especially among student athletes.

Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke is in the hot seat right now. At a game against Minnesota last week, quarterback Shane Morris took a pretty bad hit on the field and seemed visibly shaken up. He got up, but appeared woozy and actually collapsed onto his teammates. After a few seconds of struggling to stand up straight Morris insisted he was fine and stayed in the game, only to be carted off the field later due to an “aggravated leg injury.” The initial head injury was completely ignored by both Hoke — who insisted that he didn’t see it happen — and the Michigan athletic department, which also issued a statement addressing the apparent leg injury later in the game but completely passed over the head injury.

Many fans were already upset with Hoke for Michigan’s disappointing season so far. Well, if they were looking for a reason to get rid of him, this is definitely it. It should be completely unacceptable for a head coach to physically endanger his own players the way Hoke did with Morris. If he and the other coaches actually didn’t see Morris fall the first time (which we don’t believe for a second), that doesn’t say much about his attentiveness and commitment to his players. But the fact is, he probably did see what happened, and even if he didn’t realize what happened until a little later, he should have immediately called Morris off the field and made sure he received the proper medical attention.

Instead, they waited until Morris hurt himself again later in the game to take him off the field, and are now continuing to try and cover up the whole thing.

As a player, Morris obviously wasn’t willing to come off the field himself — but that’s not really his call to make. As a coach, Hoke is entirely responsible for the safety and wellbeing of his players. He needs to have good judgment when it comes to dealing with potential injuries, especially when they’re head injuries. In fact, that should be one of the main responsibilities of a head coach. At Rutgers, the football team is lucky to have head coach Kyle Flood in charge. Players have gone on record about how careful and supportive Flood is when it comes to injuries and player safety in general. And that’s how it should be. Coaches need to put their players above and before everything else, and if that’s not their first priority then they’re not fit to be coaching at all.

We’re all familiar with the Mike Rice scandal that got the former Rutgers basketball coach fired three years ago, when videos were released of him verbally abusing his players. Rice was thrown out for the way he treated his players, and the Athletic Director at the time, Tim Pernetti, was fired for covering it up. Hoke’s complete disregard for his players’ safety is just as bad. Hoke has said again and again that he still thinks his team could win the Big Ten championship, and maybe he was so desperate for a win against Minnesota that he thought keeping Morris in play might help the team. But not everything is about winning, and there’s no excuse for sacrificing your own players to get there.

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