It is big news when a team loses its starting tailback, an all-conference one at that, which is the case with Auburn now that Michael Dyer has been suspended from the football team as the Tigers prepare for the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
When or if Dyer will play football again for Auburn I can’t say for certain, but without a doubt he is not the first college star who has gotten in trouble with his coaches, and he won’t be the last one. Unfortunately, this type of story is all too common in collegiate athletics and has been for a long, long time. It was that way when I was a player and it was that way when I was a coach.
I have been through this many times as a head coach when dealing with kids. I loved coaching and the responsibilities involved, but this is one part of the job that is never any fun. However, when rules are broken the individual who does it has to pay a price to maintain discipline in your program.
The message I?would send to Michael Dyer and all young folks who are in his position, whether you are star or just an average player, is that there are things out there that you might think are fun, exciting or whatever that tempt you to violate the rules, but that is not the way to go. From my own life experiences playing football, and from dealing with thousands of guys as a coach, I know for sure the potential short-term gratification of bad behavior is not even close to the long-term rewards of doing things the right way. I have witnessed this my whole life.
I don’t want this to sound the wrong way, but I was elected captain of every football team I ever played on because my teammates, whether they liked me or didn’t like me, elected me because they knew I was going to stand for the right things and do the right things myself. If any of them got out of line, I was going to call their hand on that so I do know a little something about the pitfalls in a young man’s life and the damage he can do himself, not only today, but for the long-term, too.
In addition to hurting yourself, there is collateral damage that you do to your teammates, your coaches, your fans. When you consider all of that, not following the rules is just not worth it. It is really a sign of weakness in a man’s character.
If I could send a message to all of these young folks, I truly believe you won’t regret always trying to do what is right and living your life like you are supposed to because the rewards of doing that are so much greater than the ones from taking the wrong path.
I?believe it is easy to do the right things, if that is what you want to do. If you don’t want to do the right things you are going to fall into a trap and lot of times it is not easy to recover from the problems it causes. College athletes are at a stage of their lives in which they can build a foundation for long-term success by making the right choices or wander off on a path towards long-term failure with the wrong choices.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
Pat Dye’s Crooked Oaks Hunting Preserve and Lodge
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