A document discussing “football team rules” at Minnesota included a set of “pitfalls around college athletics,” which listed 15 activities as varied as getting parking tickets, not telling the truth, and gang rape. The two-page document came out today as one of the exhibits included in an independent review of how the university investigated a report of sexual assault involving multiple football players last year.
The document begins by listing the team’s three “core principles” as toughness, accountable and intelligent. (The inconsistency between adjectives and nouns here lies with the author of the document, who is not named.) It then lists five simple team rules, seemingly intended to guide the players in all areas of life: “act right, be on time, go to class, play hard, be a good teammate.”
Below that is the set of “pitfalls,” which are described as hazards “around” the broad entity of “college athletics” rather than specific actions to be avoided by individual college athletes. They do not seem to be listed in any particular order, although they are numbered. The rules do not include any explanation of why football players should refrain from these activities except in the case of point no. 5, which reads “player borrows/steals roommate’s credit card/phone” and is followed by the explanatory sentence, “This is easily traced and is a felony.” (It does not explicitly address this for borrowing or stealing the credit card or phone of someone who is not a player’s roommate.)
Here are the pitfalls in full:
1. Tickets- Unpaid parking tickets, speeding tickets, vehicle registration
2. Using a Fake ID
4. Credit card fraud/theft
5. Player borrows/steals roommate’s credit card/phone. This is easily traced and is a felony.
6. Leaving the scene of an accident.
7. Sexual harassment/Video of sex acts
8. Date rape/ Gang rape
10. Minor in Possession (MIP)/Public urination/ Underage drinking
12. Plagiarism/Cheating in class
14. No respect for authority
15. Not Telling the Truth
Judging by the legal system or any generally held moral framework or common sense, these activities are pretty wildly disparate. Given the title of the list, though, it’s very clear why such wide-ranging behaviors might be lumped together in one set. If the list’s intent were to communicate that these things are wrong, then grouping unpaid parking tickets and gang rape in one close set would be, at the very least, grossly insensitive. But this list doesn’t seem to have been written as a set of things that football players shouldn’t do because they are wrong—it’s a set of things that football players shouldn’t do because they might ruin their football careers. These are not laid out as actions that an athlete might knowingly do and so should knowingly try to avoid; they are, instead, “pitfalls” that are simply “around” for an athlete to fall into. If the only thing that matters is keeping a roster spot, then, really, what’s the difference between unpaid parking tickets and gang rape?
The second page of the document includes advice such as “treat your body as if it were a Lamborghini” and “shower after all workouts before eating.” It can be read in full below.