Oklahoma has been at or near the top of the college football world for the majority of the time during coach Bob Stoops’ tenure. Any time that happens, the thoughts always run through your head regarding how the program can sustain a high standard for so long.
Are they cheating? Are they paying someone off? Or are they just a well-coached football program that attracts talent and develops them every year? The same question can be asked about Alabama, LSU, Ohio State and other teams that are seemingly dominant every season. So what are those coaches doing differently? This article isn’t taking anything away from Bob Stoops as a coach.
He is one of the best coaches is OU history, and he deserves that distinction. However, if he’s not doing it the right way and not running a clean program, then shame on him. This issue got brought up again since running back Joe Mixon had his first media availability since he was charged with a misdemeanor for violence to a woman. Stoops suspended Mixon for a year, but now he’s back on the field as a productive player for the Sooners. Stoops contradicted himself when he said that there is no excuse for violence toward a woman. But he later said that Mixon deserved a second chance.
Does he deserve a second chance because he is a good person that simply made a mistake? Or does he deserve a second chance because he was your top recruit from a year ago and would really help your program win? There are very few coaches in the country that do the right thing when players get into serious trouble like this. Most of the time, if a star player gets in trouble, then he might be suspended for a game or two (but probably not if a big game is coming up). But, if a player that doesn’t make much of an impact gets in trouble, then there’s a better chance that he will be released from the program.
I can think of a few programs where Mixon wouldn’t be allowed on campus right now, much less getting ready to play in the national semifinal game in the College Football Playoff. But who is really shocked? Stoops has given several players a “second chance” because they are fantastic athletes. Nick Saban has done the same thing at Alabama. Credit Saban for getting rid of the “second chance” player if he gets in trouble again, no matter how good he is. Stoops may not run a dirty program from the standpoint of cheating (but I wouldn’t guarantee it), but he definitely doesn’t have the morals or ethics that many of his colleagues have when it comes to coaching.
Think about it…if a star player wants to come to OU or any other high profile program, then Stoops has a great chance of nabbing that recruit because of his track record, and most recently, the Mixon situation. “Second chance Stoops” is going to take care of his players, whether they drive drunk or beat up women. Why wouldn’t they want to go to OU over a program like Texas, where it’s one major strike and you’re out?
I’m not saying that every player for Oklahoma is a bad person, and Mixon may not be either. But Stoops is sending a really bad message across the country by allowing Mixon to play. But that same message is favorable to players coming out of high school or transferring, because they know their leash is longer than it would be at other schools. The action that Mixon took when he punched a girl in the face would get many people fired from their jobs. But Mixon gets to shine on the football field on his way to potentially playing in the NFL, making lots of money and very possibly doing the same thing again.
You might be able to excuse a petty theft or a minor misdemeanor, but that’s not what we are talking about here. This was a serious crime that should be taken seriously, instead of brushed to the side for a year and then avoided as much as possible after that. One day it’s all going to come crashing down on coaches that allow this to happen.
We saw it at USC a decade ago, we saw it at Penn State more recently. If Stoops is covering up things like this, then it will come to light eventually. Would you like it if your team won at all costs, including allowing criminals on the team and on campus to potentially put more people in danger?