Solid role model

The most recent addition to the Kansas Football Ring of Honor set a good example in every area of sports and life.

College and professional sports need more players like Mike McCormack.

Kansas University athletic officials honored McCormack last Saturday by inducting him into the Kansas Football Ring of Honor and adding his name to the inside rim of Memorial Stadium.

McCormack, a graduate of Kansas City, Mo.’s DeLaSalle High School, was a member of the 1948-50 KU football varsity teams. He was an outstanding, all-conference tackle and became one of professional football’s outstanding players, making the professional all-star team six times and being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In addition, he was an outstanding coach of several professional teams as well as a general manager.

During his distinguished career, McCormack conducted himself – in college, as a professional player and in his business and personal life – in a manner that reflects credit on the university and on sports.

He is the type of person and athlete others should try to emulate. He is a model for junior high, high school and college players. He was a terrific athlete, but he also was quiet, modest and a gentleman. He was not a problem for his coaches; they didn’t have to worry about his classwork or eligibility. They didn’t have to worry about McCormack’s name coming up on the police sheet.

Read the sports pages today and note the number of players who are charged with illegal activities or drugs, dismissed from teams for their actions or behavior, are unable to remain academically eligible even with massive tutoring, and engage in other activities that present a less-than-ideal role model.

Has college sports reached the point that coaches think they have to recruit players who are marginal in personal conduct, marginal in academic ability and marginal in other categories in order to win? Does this mean there are few men like Mike McCormack, or even less talented men who could make a contribution to a university’s athletic program?

Is winning that important?