Monday, December 18, 2017
Colleges

Don't expect to see protests in college football any time soon

The whispers have segued to chatter. In time, it may evolve into rumblings, or even a groundswell.

Will college players be allowed to express themselves during the national anthem?

It's a question that has risen in the wake of the widespread protests staged Sunday across the NFL. Conventional argument is, college players are adults with social consciences of their own. If they're old enough to vote and enlist, shouldn't they be afforded a platform to exercise their First Amendment rights (and perhaps learn the consequences thereof)?

In theory, yes. But it's likely a moot argument.

First, the traditional college game-day structure doesn't allow it. For years, teams have remained in their locker rooms as bands or individuals performed The Star-Spangled Banner. Immediately afterward, players emerge from the tunnels. Then, kickoff.

Presumption is, coaches and administrators prefer the status quo, even more so today. (And for all the diplomatic public statements they elicited Sunday, a lot of NFL owners probably wish their pregame format mirrored college football's.)

So why would college officials be reticent to change? Because boosters also have First Amendment rights, and many may be inclined to cut off their donations if only one student-athlete from their school chose to kneel.

Imagine the backlash in the particularly conservative nooks of the country (i.e. Southeast, Midwest). You can envision the text messages popping up on athletic directors' phones from Lincoln to Little Rock to Lexington:

Mr. (Athletic Director), your players have every right to disgrace our flag by kneeling during the national anthem, and I have every right to withhold my contributions henceforth. Additionally, my ranch may no longer be used for recruiting functions.

Such repercussions obviously would have a more significant effect on non-Power Five programs. While a handful of defiant boosters might damage Alabama's coffers, it could decimate UAB's.

Moreover, college football is a heavily controlled environment as is.

Rarely will you find a college football player speaking to a reporter without a member of that school's sports information department within earshot. Players are trained on how to engage with the media, and in some places, freshmen aren't allowed to engage with the media at all.

Some coaches even revoke their players' social-media rights during the season.

You really think those same officials will readily alter this structure and potentially open a floodgate of controversy?

Granted, players in other sports are on the field/court when the anthem is performed. And things could get interesting when basketball season commences.

But let's be realistic: The image of an Ivy League lacrosse player kneeling won't reverberate nearly as much as an SEC or Big Ten quarterback doing the same thing.

For now, the only knees those guys will be taking is during a victory formation.

Contact Joey Knight at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

Comments
No. 22 Gators, No. 19 Seminoles fall in Orange Bowl Classic games

No. 22 Gators, No. 19 Seminoles fall in Orange Bowl Classic games

SUNRISE — Marcquise Reed threw a 75-foot pass to Elijah Thomas for a dunk that put Clemson ahead to stay with 37 seconds left, and the Tigers rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half Saturday to beat No. 22 Florida 71-69 in the Orange Bowl ...
Published: 12/16/17

Tim Tebow wants to help throw you a tailgate wedding (sausages included)

Tim Tebow loves weddings.He apparently also loves football, tailgate parties and a good brat, which might explain why he’s lending his pitchman talents to a contest that ties all four together.In a promotional video, Tebow asks, "What happens when yo...
Published: 12/14/17
River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

Two years ago, Chris Schwarz was mulling over his college choices. The former River Ridge High standout had offers from Valparaiso, Florida Tech and West Florida. West Florida?That one baffled Schwarz, mostly because he knew nothing about the school....
Published: 12/14/17
Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s difficult to call a volleyball program that has been to the Final Four eight times an underdog, especially the way Florida rallied to beat Southern California and punch its latest ticket. Yet of the four schools descending on ...
Published: 12/13/17
FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

Published: 12/10/17
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK — Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, completing a climb from walk-on to one of the most accomplished players in the history of college football. Mayfield won a lopsided vote to become the sixth Okla...
Published: 12/09/17
Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

TAMPA — His team was in Ann Arbor, practicing. He was signing footballs in Tampa.Yet another Jim Harbaugh fun fact."I can’t be in two places at once," Harbaugh said.Not that Harbaugh wouldn’t try it if he could. College football’s firestarter, its bi...
Published: 12/08/17

Gasparilla Bowl journal: Temple’s Collins speaks highly of former boss, new Gator Mullen

ST. PETE BEACH — If anyone has an accurate read on how new coach Dan Mullen will fare at Florida, it’s Temple’s Geoff Collins.Collins worked under Mullen as a Mississippi State assistant from 2011-14. He jumped from there to Gainesville, where he spe...
Published: 12/07/17
No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

GAINESVILLE — Aundre Jackson scored 23, Cameron Krutwig added 14 and Loyola-Chicago stunned No. 5 Florida 63-59 Wednesday, handing the Gators a third consecutive loss. Less than 48 hours after Florida coach Mike White said his team’s performance agai...
Published: 12/06/17
Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

No matter what happens on the field at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, the star of the show will be the bloomin’ onion. Not the deliciously crispy, glistening, 1,900-plus-calorie appetizer served at Outback restaurants, but the person who parades t...
Published: 12/06/17