Flashback Friday: Rice Athletics Finally Takes My Advice

Over the past week, four Rice University football players have been arrested for various crimes ranging from theft, to felony possession of a firearm, to possession of marijuana.

Finally!

I’ve been saying for years that what Rice really needs to bring its athletics program up to national par is some grand controversy or scandal. As I wrote back in 2007, “Drugs, violence, sex: there are the signs of true champions. After all, a win is temporary, but a criminal record is forever… ish.” (pdf: Mintz Rice Athletics)

Sure, having a shotgun on campus isn’t raping a stripper, and you can probably find hundreds of students at Rice with a few ounces of pot in their rooms. But at least these football players are on the right path.

Then again, as the Houston Press points out, these crimes may soon be no crime at all:

In Rice’s defense, it should be noted that the crimes the players were arrested for may soon be obsolete, come the success of two political movements: a) the decriminalization of pot, and b) Allowing guns on campus.

These young men should be lauded as personally sacrificing to expose a government gone amuck. Shouldn’t the Second Amendment protect having a shotgun on a college campus? (Spoiler alert: No)

But the funniest part of the whole story is definitely the comments on the Houston Chronicle article. Notably, the comments implying that the football players were all thugs (black)!

Yup, these guys certainly were “thugs” from “the neighborhood.” For example, Cody Bauer, who was arrested for having a shotgun on campus, grew up in the tiny Pottsboro, TX, where he had perfect scores for five consecutive years on the standardized TAKS tests.

Or how about Cade Shaw, who attended Calallen High School, known for its strong Advanced Placement program and being the Alma Mater of former House Majority Leader Tom Delay. I mean, I won’t hesitate to call Tom Delay a thug, but I don’t think undermining Texas fundraising laws is what the Chron commenters had in mind.

And Phillip Gaines, who was arrested on a misdemeanor possession of two ounces or less of marijuana, is from Converse, TX, a San Antonio suburb that is 70 percent white. There he attended Judson High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society. Everyone knows that all the thugs join the National Honor Society.

Finally is Kevin Gaddis, who was charged with theft of property valued between $50 and $500 and possession of two ounces or less of marijuana. He is from Midwest City, Oklahoma. I’m pretty sure that by definition any place called Midwest City, Oklahoma cannot qualify as “the neighborhood.”

These four guys may have screwed up on campus. But a cursory search reveals anything but stereotypical “thugs.” These guys had academic qualifications and attended schools known not just for their football programs but educational credentials as well. These creme de la creme of the Chronicle commenters may tend to the Obama-blaming, race-baiting that makes Chron.com so great, but I still feel the need to assert that Rice is anything but a “bigger school” and has certainly not “lost sight of [its] principles.”

Admittedly, I have never been the biggest fan of the Rice athletics program, viewing it as an underutilized resource that is a financial drain on the university. (pdf: mckinsey report) But there is certainly a degree of pride that a school as small as Rice can make showings in Bowl Games or the College Baseball World Series.

Given a cursory look at the situation, these guys were not thugs. I don’t know them personally, so they may be jerks, asshats, clowns, or any other sort of Rice-centric insult. But that just means they are like every other idiot at Rice who does something stupid. These guys are obviously from “the neighborhood,” that neighborhood just happens to be West University.

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6 responses to “Flashback Friday: Rice Athletics Finally Takes My Advice

  1. It’s disappointing how the comments on practically any sports article devolve into “That’s what he gets for being BLACK!” and the like. Also, any idea what Kevin Gaddis stole? Cus if it’s laptops, we might have the next Hesiman Trophy winner on our hands!

    http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college_uf/2008/11/backup-qb-camer.html

  2. As someone from Oklahoma, I can confirm that Midwest City is, in fact, a meth-addled shithole, although I do appreciate Evan’s naivete in assuming it’s a run of the mill suburb.

    Since the internet remembers everything, please note that I have also just torpedoed any chance I have of returning to my home state and running for some kind of political office with this comment; however, there is zero chance that I would return to represent a people who believes that the potential for judicial enforcement of sharia law is an imminent threat to the safety of the state.

    Jesus Christ, Oklahoma.

  3. Every time you make an insightfully cutting and socially current post containing a Thresher back issue, I read it and intend to respond to the content, but then get distracted by the hair in your mugshot and can only think to say “aw, I remember that.”

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