If you think that the recent dismissal of Georgia Bulldogs safety Tray Matthews was a shock, you are sadly mistaken.
Since arriving in Athens as a highly-touted recruit in 2013, Matthews has had his fair share of issues on and off the field. Some of things he was doing never made it out in public, but I can assure you, Matthews has been nothing but a distraction for the Bulldogs. It is obvious that Matthews felt he was entitled, but can you blame him? He has become, like many other college players, a product of the college football environment.
In a environment where many coaches and fans let the decisions of 17 and 18-year-olds affect their everyday lives, we really shouldn’t be surprised about some of things these guys think they can get away with. Unfortunately, many of them know that no matter what they do, there are always other opportunities elsewhere.
Many of these issues can be blamed on the Auburns and Louisvilles of the college football world, as programs like those have really hurt the integrity of the game. Allowing players to transfer into their programs despite obvious discipline issues at another program is teaching these kids nothing; in fact, it only hurts them if you ask me. How is a kid supposed to learn from their mistakes when they knows no matter what, somebody else will be there to pick them up?
Of course, I am all about second chances, but some of the things these kids are getting away with have become laughable. Take Matthews for instance; he was cited earlier this year for trying to cash a stipend check twice. Yes, that means he was trying to take from the university that is paying for his education.
Before his dismissal yesterday, Matthews was likely going to have a chance to show that he had made an immature mistake, but what did he do? He went and took advantage of a great opportunity to redeem himself.
Another situation that comes to mind was the one involving Nick Marshall. Marshall, who signed with the Bulldogs out of high school, was dismissed from the team for knowingly stealing from a teammate and guess what happened? He was picked up by the Auburn Tigers and nearly led them to a national championship.
It’s situation like these that has made college football difficult to watch. The game doesn’t have the integrity that it once had. Unfortunately, it has become a business where success on the field is all that matters. I don’t see it changing any time soon, either. Until everybody gets on the same page, we can expect situations like these to be common occurrences.