It has been a wild 24 hours in Blacksburg after comments from Bud Foster triggered a firestorm
It all started with the after-practice coaches’ availability to the media with Bud Foster and the defensive staff being available. Foster has always been known as a candid, honest speaker to the media, but there was one comment that has caused a shockwave across college football regarding Cost of Attendance.
#Hokies DC Bud Foster said coaching staff will explore fining players money from cost-of-attendance funds as future disciplinary measure.
— Norm Wood (@normwood) August 26, 2015
This quote from Foster to the media led to a national college football firestorm that immediately put Whit Babcock and Virginia Tech in damage control mode. The story didn’t become a national sports headline immediately, which was critical in giving Babcock his first opportunity to try to do some quality damage control.
The good news at the time was that Babcock did a perfect job of damage control, but the damage had been done. However, more damage was to be done less than 24 hours after the Bud Foster comments were made after photos from inside the Virginia Tech facility listing fines and player names that had been fined(not in the pictures but mentioned in articles) were seen and taken.
— RTD Sports (@RTDSports) August 27, 2015
— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) August 27, 2015
The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bleacher Report, and others reported about the list of players’ names being on the same screens at some point also.
This is a distraction for Virginia Tech, and there is no doubt that Frank Beamer and Whit Babcock will likely have to deal with this a lot in the buildup to the Labor Day night showdown. What will be key is trying to limit the amount of questions players take on an issue that clearly should be dealt with by those paid a significant amount to deal with these issues.
The fining of players may be a violation of NCAA rules if Cost of Attendance counts as official scholarship money and does not fall under another category. If it is a violation, it is unknown how serious the penalty would be, but it would undoubtedly be a nuisance for the Virginia Tech program.
More than anything, this will be used heavily against the Hokies on the recruiting trail even if some other programs may be doing the same thing behind closed doors. There may be a few parents who would have been okay with this type of discipline and handling of matters in a professional matters, but this will hurt with most parents most likely.
Even though a lot if not all of the Virginia Tech football coaching staff were probably involved in the decision to use this policy, Bud Foster has become the public face of this policy. Foster’s chances of becoming the eventual replacement for Frank Beamer have likely gone down significantly because of this incident whether that is fair or not.
This is definitely a black eye moment for the Virginia Tech football and while Whit Babcock has done his best with damage control, plenty of damage has been done.