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‘Embarrassing’ off-field incidents trigger Wake letter to fans

Jim Grobe AP

The month of October hasn’t been kind to the Wake Forest football on or off the field, particularly on the latter front.

A week or so ago, the Demon Deacons announced that six players, including four starters, had been slapped with one-game suspensions, reportedly due to random drug tests that came back dirty.  Over the weekend, two more players were indefinitely suspended following their arrests on marijuana-related charges.

With Wake-and-bake jokes and one-liners flying all across the vast expanses of the Internet, the school decided to take a proactive and very public approach to the numerous situations that have cast a negative light on both the program and the university.

A letter attributed to head coach Jim Grobe and athletic director Ron Wellman was sent out to fans by the school, and the same letter was also distributed to the media via a press release.  Here’s the school’s note to its fans, in its entirety:

As a loyal supporter of our football program, you deserve to know the reasons for the decisions that have been made over the last couple of weeks about some players on our team. The off-the-field incidents have been embarrassing to all of us and it is important that you understand our approach to matters like this. We want you to know that we do not minimize the seriousness of these matters.

Parents understand that children do make mistakes and sometimes do things that are seemingly self-centered or amazingly thoughtless. We can assure you that we never take a young man into our program without recommendations from coaches, teachers, counselors, and school administrators. Recruiting is certainly not an exact science and we diligently try to bring student athletes to Wake Forest who will try their best to do what is right both on and off the field.

Coaches are teachers. Everyone in our program takes that role very seriously. A primary goal is to develop our players for life after school and football. The hardest decisions a coach has to make are those that may sacrifice winning a game in order to teach a player that making good decisions and caring for others are more important. Parents are most heartbroken when their children make foolish decisions but coaches run a close second. We are disappointed in the behavior of a few of our players but feel that our team will grow from the experience. Lost in the distractions of a few are the overwhelming number of players who are working hard to be the best each and every day.

We want to assure you that every decision we make in our football program and throughout our Athletic Department is with the future and well-being of Wake Forest and our student-athletes at heart. Winning is VERY important but it will not be pursued at the expense of our integrity. Our players need a reminder sometimes that their commitment to football extends beyond the practice field. We want our players to look back years from now and know that they were more important to us than winning a football game.

Thank you for all your support and loyalty to our program! We look forward to sharing many wonderful moments with you in the future.

Go Deacs!

Jim Grobe
Ron Wellman

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8 Responses to “‘Embarrassing’ off-field incidents trigger Wake letter to fans”
  1. florida727 says: Oct 16, 2012 11:55 AM

    Classy and very well done, as you’d hope/expect from mature adults in charge of their athletes’ well-being both on and off the field. This should also send a message to future recruits that while the goal is to win football games, the more important goal is to win at life. Wake Forest fans should be proud of the stance that both Coach Grobe and AD Wellman have taken.

  2. Clayton Bigsby says: Oct 16, 2012 12:00 PM

    WF?…should be WBF (Wake n Bake Forest)

  3. abrellbama says: Oct 16, 2012 12:42 PM

    I like it. I think it was well thought out and precise. Very classy letter to the fans and students.

  4. friarjack61 says: Oct 16, 2012 12:55 PM

    Winning is capitalized ? Is this the most important aspect of the program / How about discipline, and structure ? What about recruiting athletes, who have character, good grades, and are interested in earning a degree ?
    Years ago, when Tom Landry, was coaching the Cowboys, they instituted a program, of having all potential draftees complete a Character Profile Questionnaire, resulting in taking only those whose maturity and values, met the character values they felt were necessary for a successful program.
    Colleges should consider checking the individual character, and values of each recruit, and in doing so, might end most of the problems that a large number of these non student athletes create.
    If you want self-centered, pro-oriented jocks, do nothing; but if you want student athletes, consider the importance of knowing the character and values of your recruit.

  5. hawker1 says: Oct 16, 2012 3:05 PM

    Friar, did you even read the letter? Winning is NOT capitalized, and the entire tone is about what you said in your last line, that it is important to know the character and values of recruits. That is indeed commendable but not always possible. For either schools or businesses.

  6. pricecube says: Oct 16, 2012 4:01 PM

    They handled this very well. As a TCU alum/fan I empathize.

    Personally though I believe both medical and recreational marijuana should be decriminalized. Consensual “crimes” that do not harm the person or property of another are absurd in a so-called free society IMO.

  7. steelersandladyboysfan says: Oct 17, 2012 12:12 AM

    Wake Forest has a football team?

  8. dmvtransplant says: Oct 17, 2012 9:37 AM

    @ friarjack61

    That’s a cute Tom Landry story except you forgot the ending. The Character Profile System he came up with stopped working that’s why Tom went 17-30 his last 3 yrs. Bringing in Jimmy Johnson who knew how to handle what at the time was modern day talent or as you might say “self-centered, pro-oriented jocks, do nothing” was the only way Dallas was going to win Championships. Sorry, but that’s the reality of the current state of college or pro football in America. If there was nothing, but High Character guys(which on these message boards usually means White) playing the game the talent level would drop off considerably. And I for one to not want to watch slow, talentless, rich kid football like a Yale vs Brown game. If you want filter out guys with background or character issues, season tickets are always available to the service academies (just not Air Force that have drug rings for some reason).

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