Photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
Taking over a new football program is always difficult. University of South Florida coach Charlie Strong could easily attest.
There have been two instances of violent felonies caused by USF football players in the last few months.
The first incident came when defensive back Hassan Childs was dismissed from the school after a road-rage incident in late March. He was shot after he pointed a gun at a car.
Childs was charged with three counts of aggravated assault and one charge of marijuana possession.
The latest scandal involved defensive end LaDarrius Jackson, who has two rape charges pending against him.
Last week, Jackson was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a female student in her dormitory. He was suspended from team activities pending an investigation.
On May 10th, Jackson was arrested on the same charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment for a different incident that allegedly took place on March 27.
Judge Margaret Taylor, who is presiding over Jackson’s case, removed herself from the case after making comments to Strong about his management of the team.
“Coach Strong, if you are listening, in the last couple of months there have been two arrests of your players for very violent felonies,” Judge Taylor told the court. “This court, and I’m sure I’m not alone, questions whether you have control over your players… It’s fairly clear you do not have control of them off the field, and I guess only time will tell whether you have control over them on the field.”
Although Strong defended himself by praising the majority of the USF program, it is clear that there is a problem with how the team is being managed.
Judge Taylor, a USF graduate, said that she “was never ashamed of being an alum until now.”
While USF should have a good football team next season, these crimes cast a shadow on Strong’s program and will be a tough distraction to shake.
Although he did not sign either of the players, he became responsible for them the second he walked onto campus.
If he cannot control his players, Strong will not be the head coach for very long.