Our View: Sportsmanship isn’t limited to athletic events

DKS Editors

College can be a demanding time. Personal accountability is tested 24/7. One is responsible for a variety of new tasks, from buying groceries to going to class to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Even the most even-tempered student can feel overwhelmed with such a challenging workload. Yet this cannot be used as an excuse to get involved in criminal activities — especially by those who officially represent the university in the competitive environment of intercollegiate athletics.

Student athletes have the responsibility to serve as exemplary role models for the entire Kent State student body. By accepting to be members of a Kent State team, student athletes also accept the idea of living in a fishbowl; they become a smaller version of a public figure. While any student’s scholarships come from taxpayers’ wallets, the financial aid student athletes receive is based on their athletic abilities and the inherent representation of the university.

During the current academic year, some Kent State student athletes have been implicated in criminal activities. The most recent case involves a football player who was arrested Sunday on charges of underage drinking, displaying a fake I.D. and assault; each of the three charges are first-degree misdemeanors. Sophomore safety Zack Gonosz allegedly assaulted a cab driver outside a bar in downtown Kent, according to a police report. Gonosz was also cited in early May for underage drinking.

Gonosz has been indefinitely suspended from the team, according to Kent State’s Athletic Communications. While we applaud the department’s decision of separating the player from the team, we also exhort the university’s Athletic Director Joel Nielsen, coaches and assistants to revisit the department’s code of conduct and oblige student athletes to abide by it more than ever before.

While any student attending the university is a Kent State representative, the average student does not have a group of fans expecting outstanding behavior from him or her. Incidents like Gonosz’ stain the university’s reputation. Student athletes should extend their practice of sportsmanship outside the fields, courts and rings.