UMass chancellor releases statement on football training video

Last modified: Friday, February 28, 2014
University of Massachusetts chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy released a statement Thursday night regarding the controversial video from the UMass football program’s 2012 winter conditioning workouts.

The video, which shows players wrestling and boxing outside, was part of an online petition by a group of UMass football alumni against coach Charley Molnar.

Subbaswamy’s statement follows:

“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.”

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.