Veteran University Diaries readers know about what Scathing Online Schoolmarm calls coacha inconsolata – that form of local booster journalism that involves portraying football coaches who knowingly recruit dangerous criminals to our universities as suffering saintlike beings whose only motivation in these recruitments is a deep belief in The Ultimate Goodness of Man. When the dangerous recruits start doing what dangerous recruits tend to do – break the law and put everyone in danger – the local booster press doesn’t say the obvious, which is Why do we pay the highest-paid person on campus to cynically, with arrant disregard for the safety of our community, go to a lot of trouble to bring a very dangerous man into our midst? No, no. It always goes something like this:
Coaches like to believe … that they can rescue troubled kids, even save them. It’s a noble premise.
Far from being assholes who don’t care that they are exposing young and vulnerable people to hardened criminals (not to mention admitting people unlikely to take even one course with any academic legitimacy – but that’s a trifle here), these coaches are noblemen, pure of heart, so sure of the glorious transformative power of university football that they are willing to take risks other people won’t – they are willing to say Under the rap sheet of this running back beats the heart of a true gentleman, and though it won’t be easy I’m going to dedicate myself to finding that heart. Because that’s what Oklahoma State’s football team is all about – turning young men around.
And when the entire divinely-kissed scheme fails to work out, what then?
Why, coacha inconsolata, of course. His heart is absolutely broken. He is suffering.