Have a problem with Florida State? You aren’t the only one.
Don McPherson, best known in Syracuse as a 1987 Heisman Finalist and leader of the Orange’s last undefeated season, now spends his time speaking on college campuses about social justice issues and domestic violence. He admitted yesterday, on his weekly radio appearance, that he’s not a fan of the way the ‘Noles operate.
“I talk to players and coaches about this every day,” McPherson said. “The behavior of Jameis Winston impacts the behavior of student-athletes on other campuses because it says that the money and the business of college sports are going to allow those kinds of things to happen without repercussions.”
The University and the Tallahassee Police Department’s mishandlings of the rape allegation against Winston have been well documented. Other recent incidents have called the Florida State football culture into question. The Seminoles have overcome these off-the-field controversies, often labeled as “distractions” from football, to remain undefeated, drawing praise from analysts.
“Once you go to the second level of saying how great they are for getting through all this, not only do you not care about who you put on the field, but you don’t even care about the individuals themselves,” said McPherson, when asked about the praise FSU receives for overcoming distractions. “The foundation of student-athlete is that they leave better than when they came there, and we do nothing to hold them accountable. Once you do that, you destroy the purity of the sport.”
McPherson is a man who achieved nearly everything that can be won in the college game, and probably more than any individual Syracuse player has since Ernie Davis won the Heisman Trophy in 1959. His message was clear: We place way too much importance on those accomplishments.
“I’m 49-years-old. Seven years of professional football is a blip on the screen in my life. People talk about, ‘this is their chance.’ No. Their chance is education. People still don’t get that. The fact that (players) don’t see the money doesn’t matter. When you see North Carolina where they are short-changed in education, or when you see at Florida State where you aren’t accountable for crime, THAT is the corruption of the system.”
This leads to the multi-billion dollar college football question: If the system is corrupt, how do we fix it?
McPherson thinks the major conferences will operate more like a semi-professional league, while the rest of the schools scale back and focus more on education than business.
Coming from a quarterback who led his team to the Sugar Bowl AND took advantage of his scholarship, it seems like a sad path for college football to take.
“The saddest thing is seeing young people think they’re going to the NFL or the NBA and squandering the opportunity in front of them. And seeing people around student-athletes, in my opinion, telling them a bunch of stories about how they’re being exploited and they deserve some of the money. Get your education. The list of guys who went to class, got an education, leveraged that opportunity for current success in life—that list is not just starters who scored a lot of touchdowns.”
Catch Don McPherson every Monday on Upon Further Review at 3:30 on ESPN 97.7 and 100.1
The coach of the Syracuse backcourt debuted his radio show last night. Besides a blow-by-blow of the final minutes in the '03 championship game, the topics of discussion included Sunday's scrimmage against Carleton and a breakdown of the four prominent guards the Orange will feature in 2014-2015.
On Kaleb Joseph’s personality:
I was drawn to him because he’s so fiery and emotional. But more than anything, he really wants to be good. He takes so much pride in his game and wants to learn. He has a long way to go, but I was impressed with him in the Carleton game. It reminded me of the way Tyler Ennis played in that game last year. We call it rogue. Kaleb went rogue. We didn’t have anything going, so he stepped up and made a jump shot, got to the basket, and made that little floater right before the half to get us going.
Where Joseph needs to improve:
He can get better running the offense, looking for areas to find guys or exploit the defense for himself. But he’ll improve there because he wants to spend a lot of time in the film room with me.
On Trevor Cooney’s 0-6 opener:
Everyone needs to relax a little (on Cooney). We need to find him shots in transition because defenses are keying on him in the half court. What he really needs to do is find a few ways to put points up. We watch Andy Rautins film and JJ Redick film to see how they evolve and find different ways to impact the game.
How Cooney can impact the game in other ways:
It’s a mentality thing with him. He really has put in the work to be a better ball handler and attack; now he needs to have the confidence to do it in the game. Sunday he caught passes and didn’t have a shot, and he wasn’t aggressive. It was out of his hands. If you’re going to limit yourself to just a shooter, you won’t be involved unless you get shots. You can’t judge yourself on how you shoot. It’s a game. You have to be involved in as many aspects as you can. I’ll give him credit because he always defends and disrupts on that end.
On Ron Patterson’s confidence:
I think he needed a new year, a fresh start, an opportunity to play. Last year, I used the term a lot with him, “you’re consistently inconsistent.” He shoots the ball great and works hard one day; the next day he’s turning it over and missing everything. This year he’s been incredibly consistent. I’m so proud of him. I recruited Ron, and we have a great relationship. He probably doesn’t like me every day because I’m hard on him, but it’s only because I know his potential.
What Patterson brings as a player:
He’s long and athletic. He’s a better ball handler. He has a pure shooting stroke. He can be so disruptive defensively, which I saw on Sunday. The best part is that he was the first player in the gym on Monday. Sometimes all it takes is a little success for a new outlook on your situation. And he’s got so much confidence, almost like Dion Waiters, where you put him in the game and he says, “okay, now I’ll show you.” He can be so valuable to us if he continues this mentality.
On Michael Gbinije’s versatility:
I think Mike Gbinije could be in the running for most improved player in the ACC. But if he plays 35 minutes and shoots three times, he won’t be in that mix. He’s too talented and physically gifted to not be aggressive. He did a great job at the point, and he helped on the glass, but he needs to take more than three shots.