Posted by Tom Fornelli
On Wednesday Sports Illustrated and CBS News released a story about the amount of football players in college sports with arrest records, and the lack of background checks that schools are performing on these players. Without a doubt, the school that emerged from the story with the biggest black eye on its reputation was Pitt, as the Panthers have had quite a few run-ins with the law as of late. Of course, this also reflected poorly on former head coach Dave Wannstedt, who oversaw the program as all these arrests were taking place.
On Thursday Wannstedt, now with the Buffalo Bills, tried to defend himself. Saying that while there were some problems while he was at Pitt, he was still proud of what he'd accomplished at the school.
"We had an unfortunate stretch of incidents last summer but I am very proud of our body of work during my six years with regards to players behavior," Wannstedt told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Every player [we recruited] was evaluated and scrutinized and we tried to project whether they would become productive members of our football program as well as the university at large. Every player and each incident was evaluated on an individual basis and we did our due diligence to make sure that we treated each player fair and almost all of the incidents resulted in either a suspension or a player being eliminated from our program and many of the incidents in question did not result in a conviction of any kind.
"Our players understood their responsibility, they graduated and for the most part, they did the right things."
Unfortunatly for Wannstedt, the results seem to indicate otherwise. Incredibly, only hours after the story went public, news of another Pitt football player being arrested emerged. The most amazing part of Fernando Diaz's arrest was that he needed to be Tasered by police four times before finally being subdued. However, the most telling part of Diaz's arrest was what his teammate said to him as he was struggling with the police.
Diaz's teammate told him to calm down because Dave Wannstedt was no longer the head coach, and that new head coach Todd Graham was going to make an example of him.
Sounds like Pitt players really did understand their responsibility. Get in trouble under coach Wannstedt and they just might get slapped on the wrist.