Letter: In defense of the Minnesota West football program
By Mike “Augie” Augustine, Assistant Principal/Dean of Students, Bishop Machebeuf HS, Denver, Colo.
I am many miles and many years removed from Minnesota West Athletics, but my heart still beats for the Blue and Lady Jays. I was fortunate enough to walk the sidelines as an assistant football coach for 10 seasons and live in the gym as the head men’s basketball coach for 13 seasons at WCC/MN West. I am familiar with the incident at Central Lakes because I still stay in touch with the current football coaching staff at Minnesota West, as I used to coach them.
I understand there is consideration of dropping the football program. To me, that is a rush to judgment and doesn’t follow any current protocol to addressing infractions inside an athletic program.
My questions are simple: Has the football program ever been put on probation? Have it ever been suspended from postseason play? Has there ever been an investigation into wrongdoing by anyone associated with the football program (other than the poor plays I called as an offensive coordinator)?
The choice of suspending/banning /dropping the football program should come after the program has failed to follow set guidelines, like probation or other rules placed on it following the incident at Central Lakes. Quite frankly, if the stories are true, I don’t think anyone worth their salt would stand for racial slurs being tossed at them without fighting. I’m Italian, and there are a few names you could call me that might get you punched in the mouth.
The football program is solid. The coaching staff wants the best for the players, not just on the field but in life. People made mistakes, but the decision to eliminate a storied program over a single incident is kind of like the world we live in — instant and irrational. Please consider alternative actions before taking drastic measures. Reasonably look at the great and good things the football program has done over the years without anyone knowing about those affirmative actions.
College football is important to the community. If you know anything about removing programs, they never come back.