UMass fans and alumni aren't happy with the current state of the Minutemen Football program. They're frustrated with the continued losing, and the more than 20 players who have transferred out since Charley Molnar was hired in December 2011. But now there's a new issue being raised: the possible mistreatment of players. Some alumni and fans recently stumbled across a video of Molnar's unique winter conditioning program he implemented in 2012 and have begun a petition demanding that he and his staff end "the improper treatment of current players".
Thursday night UMass Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy issued a statement on the petition and the accusations of player mistreatment. Here is the statement:
"A video depicting an off-season training exercise of our football players from the winter of 2012 has recently been brought to my attention. The activities depicted in the video raise concerns about player safety and call into question the appropriateness of some of the exercises.
The health and safety of our student athletes is of paramount concern to me. We must ensure that our student athletes practice and compete in an atmosphere that promotes not only mental and physical toughness, but also the positive values of civility and scholarship to which we aspire as a university. Even though it appears as though no NCAA rules prevailing at the time were violated, I am asking the Compliance Subcommittee of our campus Faculty Senate Athletic Council (along with the Faculty Athletic Representative) to conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the video to determine whether such exercises constituted either physical or mental abuse of our student athletes. While such exercises have apparently ceased as a result of change in NCAA rules, I want the Subcommittee to make recommendations for best principles and practices for the conduct of training exercises, and to propose a mechanism for monitoring them.
My administration and I take this matter very seriously. If Athletics is, indeed, the front porch of the university, what happens on the front porch affects the entire campus." — Chancellor Subbswamy
Here is the highlight video of the conditioning exercises in question:
The petition has 138 signatures at the time of this post.