Discipline issues with Texas A&M football team could soon impact recruiting

Scott Halleran

Has Kevin Sumlin lost control of his program?

The circumstances surrounding the arrests of two Texas A&M Aggies football players on Tuesday are just another example of head coach Kevin Sumlin's player running afoul of the law this offseason.

And these charges are particularly significant -- linebacker Darian Claiborne and defensive tackle Isaiah Golden had already had issues with the police recently, but now face three charges each of aggravated assault, each of which is a first-degree felony.

Here are the details from the College Station Police Department release:

On May 23, 2014 at approximately 2255 hrs, officers with the College Station Police Department were dispatched to the 2000 blk of Holleman Drive W in regards to a report of an aggravated robbery that had just occurred. Upon arrival officers met with two victims, a 20 year old male and a 22 year old male, and learned that the reported robbery had actually occurred a short distance away at their apartment in the 1100 blk of Jones Butler Road. They further stated that a third victim, a 20 year old male, was at that apartment and that he had been struck in the head during the robbery by one of the suspects. Officers responded to the apartment, located the third victim, and found him to have suffered minor injuries as a result of being struck. 

Investigation at the scene found that the three victims had entered into an agreement to purchase a quantity of marijuana from the suspects. When the suspects arrived at the apartment to complete the transaction, one of the suspects produced a handgun, pointed it at one of the victims while the other suspect took the money that was present to purchase the marijuana. While this was occurring, one of the victims stood up from the couch and was struck in the face by the suspect with the handgun. The suspects then fled the area on foot and the victims notified police.

The news of the arrests came after Sumlin had announced the dismissals of both from the team, so for a short time that take from the Aggie sphere was that this was evidence that the A&M head coach was finally stepping up and disciplining his players.

But after the details emerged about what had really happened, it quickly became clear that Sumlin didn't have a choice about what he was doing.

Seven members of the 2013 A&M recruiting class are now no longer in the program, including safety Kameron Miles, who was dismissed several months ago for theft.

And parents are starting to take notice of what's going on, too:

That's hardly a surprise, especially in contrast to the strict policies of Texas head coach Charlie Strong, who supposedly has little tolerance for guns or drugs.

The popular Twitter meme is that Mark Richt has lost control of his program at Georgia. Increasingly, it seems that the fun atmosphere promoted by Sumlin in College Station isn't working and the evidence is mounting to suggest that he doesn't fully have his program under control.

It's not difficult to make that argument when players are selling marijuana and pistol whipping customers as they rob them. Allegedly.

Sumlin has already tried to address some of the problems by hiring an outside consulting firm to instill a boot camp atmosphere in practice, an attempt to develop the discipline that has been lacking. At least with Clairborne and Golden, it didn't help.

Pretty soon, it's going to start impacting what happens on the recruiting trail for the Aggies if Sumlin can't reverse this trend and repair the damage that is being done to his reputation as a head coach, recruits may no longer flock to Texas A&M.

The DJ may keep playing at practice, but the parents of recruits probably aren't liking what they're hearing out of College Station right now.

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