May 3, 2012
To the Pirate Nation:
The Pirate Nation has every right to expect the behavior of our student-athletes to be exemplary, particularly those individuals who are receiving full scholarships and who are members of high-visibility teams. Student-athletes have to understand the media and the general public who follow and publicize and/or support their efforts on the field or court has just as much interest in their off-field or off-court activities. This scrutiny and expectation includes social media posts and tweets as well as the response of these student-athletes when interacting with the public in general and/or those who enforce our laws.
At no time will inappropriate behavior be excused. If it does occur, it requires our athletic department to work closely with the university, counselors and others to treat these individuals fairly and consistently. Our coaches and Office of Student Development provide constant reminders of the university's expectations, including presentations from law enforcement and other organizations. When an incident occurs, the student-athlete is suspended from team activities for most offenses that embarrass the young person, their families and the university. The Office of Student Affairs is also notified to ensure that the student-athlete is treated like any other student would be treated in similar circumstances as far as university activities are concerned.
Once the individual has been through the judicial and university processes, then it is time to face his or her coach and the discipline for violating team and athletic department policy. In most cases, the discipline is a combination of added conditioning work, possible suspension from team activities and required counseling.
Everyone here at the university is working hard to find the proper balance for treating violations seriously while teaching the individual important life lessons as they transition to their future lives.