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Our young elite athletes are missing something. They are missing coaches who care enough to tell them when they’re in the wrong, coaches with courage and integrity enough to bench, suspend, or otherwise reprimand their superstars.

The most recent, highly embarrassing, example is Syracuse basketball’s standout center being suspended at, this is a huge understatement, the most innoportune time for his team.

Syracuse is a good school… for non-athletes. They are academically competitive, have many outstanding programs, and I have many friends and colleagues who count themselves among their deservedly proud alumni.  However, there exists a huge double standard when it comes to elite athletes. Fab Melo, Syracuse’s seven foot tall center on their perennially competitive basketball team, has been suspended again for academic reasons. These same academic infractions would result in a “normal” co-ed losing their scholarships, financial aid, or even may result in their being dismissed from their program. In Melo’s case, these infractions have resulted in three separate warnings. Only after this “student”, and I use that term very loosely, received three warnings, and undoubtedly many more chances to get his academics in order, has he finally been suspended.

I am unable to find any real academic information on this young man. I know he’s enrolled in the college of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse. This lack of information only supports my intuition that my acquaintances’ inferences of basketball players taking “rocks for jocks” courses and being absent most of the time probably hold true. It is my opinion, backed up by countless first-hand accounts, that, had he ATTENDED his very light course load, his professors would have found a way to get him eligible for the most important month of his athletic career. This young man, with the promise of NBA riches, has taken advantage of the hard working students who pay exorbitant tuition in order to supply him with his free ride.

Why can’t our elite athletes stay away from this type of thing. Look to their professional role models. The prime example is Brandon Marshall, now of the Chicago Bears of the NFL. He had a very lackluster academic record, had been arrested and in other trouble while at college, and has been arrested FIVE TIMES since turning pro. His current team knew all of this, as well as his pending legal issue of hitting a woman outside a New York nightclub, yet still signed him.

I challenge all coaches to hold your athletes to a higher standard. We at Hordon Health strive to lead by example; all our coaches have degrees from four year institutions, and two attended Ivy League schools. We strive to be citizens of the world, volunteering our time, and giving back to the community that supports our business. We demand the same amount of excellence from our athletes. For them to become Renegades.

Coaches; you are the leaders of future generations. Your current students will be coaches, role models, and citizens. Step up! If you have integrity, loyalty, and compassion, you can make a huge difference.

I’m looking at you, Mr. Boeheim.

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