Florida State’s emphasis on off-field behavior will range from a new course that will be required for all athletes to a host of guest speakers ranging from Navy Seals to former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett.
The programs, implemented by school president John Thrasher, athletic director Stan Wilcox and coach Jimbo Fisher, have been a priority since two FSU football players were charged with misdemeanor battery this summer.
Freshman quarterback De’Andre Johnson was dismissed from the team after video surfaced showing him punching a woman in a Tallahassee bar, and sophomore running back Dalvin Cook was suspended indefinitely from the team for allegedly striking a woman outside a bar.
Cook’s trial date was set for Aug. 24 after his attorney’s request for an expedited trial was granted this week.
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“We already had a robust system in place that addressed off-field issues and challenges our student-athletes might face and we are following [Thrasher’s] lead in making every effort to make them even more effective,” Wilcox said in a statement Friday.
Florida State is creating a course designed to provide more in-depth instruction concerning the various responsibilities of athletes. The course, which will be open to all students but will be a requirement for athletes, will incorporate some of what has already been in place, such as guest speakers, along with dealing with issues facing young adults like domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.
In addition, it would teach the athletes how to manage finances in light of the NCAA’s passage of cost-of-attendance measures, which will supplement athletes with additional money to cover cost-of-living expenses outside of athletic scholarships.
“We feel when it’s a course the individual has to invest more into it as opposed to when it’s an expert coming in talking to the kids,” Wilcox told the Post this week. “They’ll touch a good portion of them but there will be a time they won’t get to some kids and then that person is gone. If it’s a course that’s required the kids have to be vested in it and they have to get more out of it.”
According to Wilcox, the football team took part in an interactive program called “Whoaman” facilitated by guest speaker Tyrone White and will join Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s national campaign against domestic violence called “Pass the Peace.” The campaign uses social media to raise awareness of domestic violence and benefits the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Fisher has brought in six guest speakers the first week of camp and has another six schedule in the next week. This is in addition to the guest speakers who came through prior to the start of camp.
The list includes former professional athletes Chris Herren (NBA), Tim Brown (NFL), Clarett (NFL) and Michael Clayton (NFL), along with former NBA official Bob Delaney, who was an undercover police officer. Clarett starred on Ohio State’s 2002 team that defeated Miami in the Fiesta Bowl to win the national championship, but saw his career derailed legal issues and wound up in prison.
In addition, experts in sexual assault, domestic violence, anger management, social media, stress, mental toughness and team work will share their experiences.
A member of the Navy Seals is scheduled to speak with the team Saturday.
Wilcox said kids today are growing up in a much different world because of social media.
“I challenged us to kind of understand that world and figure out how [to] create programs for our kids to make sure they are being totally understanding of how to live in this world without having the issues you see a lot of people falling into,” Wilcox said.
“I’m excited about what we’re doing and the changes we’re making. It’s created a great opportunity for us to do even more for our kids.”