… is a benign dictator, in the way of football coaches.  A well-meaning, emotional man of limited worldly understanding, he keeps his kingdom content with athletic spectacles and brooks no dissent.  His players are worshipped by all.

On the fringes of Leipold’s domain lies a university, and though his players may not use the athletic equipment of this university without one of their fitness coaches present, three of the athletes did so anyway, refusing to show their student identification and behaving with the sense of entitlement that you would expect of the king’s pets.

A reporter from the university newspaper was present, took offense, and wrote a column about “spoiled athletes.”

Neither their demeanor, nor their language was respectful, but that’s OK, because they’re athletes. They’re allowed to play the system. Next time I’m in the Williams Center, I’ll keep my ID, wear my headphones on the bottom floor and bench press naked because I feel like it. …

The guilty party usually isn’t the typical student-athlete. It’s really not even the few who misbehave or accept preferential treatment. The villains are the “adults” – the coaches and administrators – who send the message it’s acceptable to behave how you want because you can run fast or jump high.

The writer concluded by noting one common endpoint of athlete-coddling:

[S]ometimes exceptional talent still isn’t enough to bail out someone who thinks he’s above the rules. Ask [Maurice] Clarett. You can reach him at the Toledo Correctional Institution.

When he read this, King Leipold flushed crimson and flew into a rage.

“This is fucking bullshit,” he thundered, and banned the newspaper from access to the football program. “The door is shut. Go cover soccer…. I’m sure that will be fun.”

So certain was Leipold of the right of kings that he wrote an email to the university’s chancellor boasting of having shut down the press: “If this is the type of journalism our paper is going to have. They can cover someone else — we will get along just fine,” Leipold wrote.

Imagine Leipold’s amazement when reprimands and sanctions rained down upon him from the chancellor! When he was made to apologize in public to this student and to the newspaper!

Moral of the story: Just as the concept of assault has now become clearer to Mississippi’s coach, so the concept of a free press is surely beginning to work its way into the brain of King Leipold.

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3 Responses to “King Leipold of Whitewater…”

  1. Barb Says:

    So his majesty cares so much about the program and how it’s perceived that he goes on a rant about a student editorial – but not enough to train his athletes in basic courtesy and obeying rules? Oh, how silly of me! College athletes, and their athletic programs, make enough money to be exempt.

  2. theprofessor Says:

    Obviously Lance forgot to swap the ontological prosthesis for the rhetorical one.

  3. University Diaries » “Simply KU athletics trying to bully a student journalist.” Says:

    […] Here are two of many examples of authoritarian coaches trying to shut down a free press at American universities. I mean, of course we know that virtually all university football programs refuse to discuss – or only very selectively discuss – their budgets (Penn State, before it was forced by circumstance to disclose all sorts of things to the world, was notoriously paranoid about any form of disclosure); but here we’re talking about the actual bullying of a free press. […]

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