The honor of being named a team captain comes with a burden of responsibility to uphold the image of the team, and in college sports, the university as a whole. Being named a team captain by your peers comes with great pride and is not to be taken for granted. Presenting the best your team and university have to offer and representing both on the field puts players in a spotlight for many good reasons. Unfortunately, this season has seen some captains take their positions for granted with signs of poor sportsmanship.
On November 1, new Big Ten member Maryland made its first trip to Penn State’s Beaver Stadium since 1992. Before Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, the Terrapins and Nittany Lions played almost every season dating back to 1960. Maryland had not beaten Penn State since 1961, and the last time the Terps avoided a loss to their neighbors north of the Mason-Dixon line came in the form of a tie in 1989. The Terrapins got off the bus in State College with a chip on their shoulders, and off-season comments made by former Maryland assistant coach James Franklin to Penn State alums and fans in the state of Maryland certainly added some fuel to the fire that Randy Edsall and his program would burn.
As the two Big Ten East rivals took the field, Maryland players got in the faces of Penn State players, starting a bit of a pushing and shoving match that was very uncommon to see in Beaver Stadium over the years. After things settled down, the team captains from both teams arrived at midfield for the pregame coin flip. As the Penn State captains extended their hands to their Maryland counterparts, this happened:
Maryland ended up having the last laugh with a late field goal giving the Terrapins the win, but after the game the college football world looked past the result and focused on the nonsense before the game. Even in victory, Maryland managed to give the program and university a black eye. Following the win, Edsall and Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson apologized for the pregame antics of their players. A couple of days later, the Big Ten issued a public reprimand of Maryland and the actions taken by the captains — Stefon Diggs, P.J. Gallo and Sean Davis.
Diggs was also suspended for one game for making contact with a Big Ten official during the pregame confrontation out of the team entrances. Maryland alternates team captains on a week-by-week basis. The Terps have not used Diggs, Gallo or Davis as a team captain in the two games since this incident at Penn State. You would hope that the attention given to this show of poor sportsmanship and ridiculousness would have sent a message to players across the country that this is frowned upon and ends up making you look silly. For the most part, you are probably right. Somehow, though, the message was never delivered to Central Michigan.
Continue reading the full story on The Student Section.