Mackovic discusses recent player troubles

It has been a difficult couple of days for the Wildcat football team. Four players have had brushes with the law for two separate incidents. Three Wildcats were involved in a brawl on Fourth Avenue, while Bobby Wade missed a court date stemming from a June altercation in front of a Scottsdale nightclub. Coach John Mackovic addressed the situation while attending the Pac-10's media day.

Mackovic said he has no set policy on how to deal with the situation.

"You really do have to take them individually, because when you get down to the bottom of it everything is different from each other. I'd like to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. Even if we know it's going to be extended time wise we'd still like to know what we're dealing with. I have always told out team that if something happens that if they'd come and tell me first I'll do whatever I'm allowed to do to help them. But if it slips to the media or the public first, then I am really handcuffed.

"There are always two sides to every story. Many times these situations get dealt with quickly to resolve the issue, but then when people go back and reflect on the facts they find the facts are a little different. I'd hate to be in a position where I reacted more sternly than should have been the case. However, I do think that everyone has a responsibility to be a good representative to our university and our team. When someone gets arrested it is embarrassing and I have to take that into account."

Mackovic understands that things like this will happen when young people are involved, but he by no means condones it.

"I have an understanding, but not much tolerance. I do have an understanding that they are young people. I have also found this out; that there are a lot of people who hang out close to athletes, who know they are athletes and would like nothing better to see if they can pick a fight with them and win.

"We talk about staying out of trouble. Sometimes it just pops up in your face. My biggest issue is, did we go looking for trouble or did it fall in our lap? If you are going and looking for trouble, that is one thing. I will deal with that. Trouble can fall in your lap at about anytime."

Coach Mackovic did concede that poor decisions will lead to trouble, even if the intentions are purely innocent.

"I ask them all the time, ‘do you ever get into trouble at 9:30?' It always seems to start after midnight. If you are out after midnight then you need to start thinking about an exit course, because that's when trouble starts.

"By the same token part of going off to college is growing up and learning how to make good decisions and how to handle yourselves. If we for example put a mandatory curfew on them, then we'd give them no opportunity to go out and learn to make adult decisions. I tell that to parents, ‘If your son is going to come here then I hope you want him to be a mature young man when he leaves.' We want him to be a mature young man, not a mature middle-aged man, but a mature young man. Part of that is making mistakes. We'll deal with them fairly and with a degree of consistency that reflects our program."

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