ST. PETERSBURG — Desmond Howard, the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner at Michigan and the keynote speaker at this week's Black Coaches and Administrators convention at the Renaissance Vinoy, told group members Thursday there's a troubling sense of entitlement in today's athletes that wasn't as prominent when he was in college.
"The way these coaches recruit these kids, they make them feel like they're the cat's meow, that the program can't move forward without them at the school," Howard said. "When you recruit them that hard, then you gas them up on who they are. You give that guy a sense of entitlement.
"I was told by a giant, Bo Schembechler, that no one man is bigger than the program. Not even (Schembechler). He was larger than life. For me to sit there and this guy tells me nobody's bigger than Michigan, that's all he had to say."
Howard said the prominent coverage of recruiting has young players in the spotlight before they've accomplished anything significant in college. He said if Bobby Bowden can be forced out as coach at Florida State, why should any player feel irreplaceable?
"I'll give you a perfect example: Michigan fires coach Rich Rodriguez," said Howard, who starred at Michigan from 1989-91. "All the noise in Ann Arbor is, 'Is Denard Robinson going to stay or leave?' I'm like, 'Hey, if the kid wants to go, don't let the door hit you on the way out. You looked fantastic for five games against nobody. That's what you did.' I'm not going to deny his talents, but, 'You ain't won nothing in Ann Arbor, son! Not so much we need to worry about if you're going to be here next year or not.' "
HONORS: At today's awards ceremony, the group will honor its 2011 men's and women's basketball coaches of the year, Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart and Penn State's Coquese Washington. UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero will receive the Myles Brand BCA Administrator of the Year award.
THIS AND THAT: Former NBA star and current analyst Len Elmore will make a presentation today for iHoops.com, a website that is the youth initiative of the NCAA and NBA. Its aims is to improve the quality of youth basketball and inform recruits about the recruiting process. … Louisville football coach Charlie Strong, whose team won the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl at Tropicana Field in December, attended for the second year in a row. … This morning the group and the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, based in Orlando, will present their hiring report card for women's basketball, grading schools on their practices in including minority candidates during their head coaching searches.