Saturday, January 1, 2011

University of Pittsburgh fires head football coach after he is accused of domestic battery

Mike Haywood was fired today, just weeks after being named head football coach of the University of Pittsburgh, shortly after he was released from an Indiana jail after being charged with domestic battery. The University issued a statement that is problematic: 

"After careful consideration of recent events, the University of Pittsburgh has dismissed Michael Haywood as its head football coach, effective immediately. He was advised of that action this afternoon.

"To be clear, the University's decision is not tied to any expectation with respect to the terms on which the legal proceeding now pending in Indiana might ultimately be concluded. Instead, it reflects a strong belief that moving forward with Mr. Haywood as our head coach is not possible under the existing circumstances.

"This is a matter of real regret for the many people at Pitt who had looked forward to working with him. However, head coaches are among the University's most visible representatives and are expected to maintain high standards of personal conduct and to avoid situations that might reflect negatively on the University. . . . ."

It is understandable that "moving forward with Mr. Haywood as our head coach is not possible under the existing circumstances."  An accusation of this nature will be a major distraction for Haywood, and there is a possibility he will be incarcerated for this charge. 

The problematic aspect of the statement is this: ". . . head coaches . . . are expected to maintain high standards of personal conduct and to avoid situations that might reflect negatively on the University. . . . ."

You see the problem. Unless the university knows something the rest of us don't know, what if the accuser lied?  What if the now ex-coach did maintain high standards of conduct? And what if he couldn't avoid this situation?

You see, that's the problem.