Q & A with Dave Hart

Click here to read this in-depth interview with FSU's Director of Athletics Dave Hart. "Success is measured differently here than it is at a lot of programs," Hart said. "There's a lot of programs who the last two years had they played in New Year's Day bowls, and one BCS bowl, and won eight, nine 10 games, the coach would be getting a five-year extension and a bunch of more money and people would be ecstatic. That is not the case here, nor do we want it be the case here."

Here's the conversation with Dave Hart.

"I told our team upon our arrival here, I think what young people overlook or don't think about sometimes is these errors in judgment have a negative impact on a lot of peole beyond the individuals who made the poor choice. They reflect on a lot of peole and I think It shows a genereal disrespect for coaches, teammates, the program and the university. You may consider that too strong but that's what I told them.

"Nobody keeps in check more than I that they're 17 to 22 years of age, but at some point you have to learn accountabiltilty and be more responsible for your actions and you have to look at the bigger picture of who they are impacting. If you care anything about Florida State those decisions have it tough on a lot of people.

"I don't believe there's a more high profile program than ours and I say that because of Bobby's long-standing policy of accessibility. While there's a side of that to be admired, you have to understand and accept the fact that because of the visiblity created, no story of this nature is localized or regionalized. It's immediately a national story.

"And while we have very clear polices in place which our players understand to deal with and implement consequences related to poor decisions -- and that we can totally control -- what is very difficult to control is the decision making that is taking palce on the part of our players.

"I told them while it is a few people in this instance, when two of those people are QBs, that differs the visibility even higher. Those are people you entrust the team to. And you expect them to lead and expect them to set the tone and set an example. When those people make poor choies I think it takes that reaction to a pinnacle.

"I think a student-athlete should be held to a higher level of accountability. Not to a level where it becomes a real gap in fairness in treatment, but I think they should be held to a higher level because they're the universities most visible amabassadors. Like it or not, that's very, very true.

"I think we all have an obligation to understand and accept the nature of the fish-bowl environement that we live in and we can't have it both ways. Everybody applauds it when thihgs are going well, so you have to be willing to accept that when things go poorly you also have to deal with those times.

"I think it's the nature of our society that when something negative has occurred particually in a ... We have to constantly continue to set examples, continue to implement consequences, continue to talk to players abvout the type of impact that has and another message that was delivered when we got here, that if they even approached a gray area, I had identified where the bus stations was and there'd be no meeting with coach Bowden.

"I don't know of anybody that does more, any more than we do. Some people do as much as we do in certain areas, but I don't know that anyone has put a higher priority than we have on student development, at opening lines of communication , talking to our stendent athletes, educating them about the perils that are very real within intercollegiate athleteics.

"Sure you look back, particularly when you have a sucession in a short period of time, as we did, of poor decisions being made, you say well what else can we do , what else should we do.

"I think it is encumbent upon me as the director of athletics, on Bobby as the head coach, to have those discussions. And we did and we are and we will continue to have them as we return to Tallahassee and how can the grip on the wheel be tightened?

"We discipline our players. I can assure you that we've lined up against a lot of felons, I hate to say that, but it's a fact, who would not be on the field at Florida State, I can rest assure you, be certain of that, because when It reaches my level.

I always say it doesn't matter what other people are doing. My point is, we are implementing consequences, it's poor decisions making to get a grip on, but we've got to look at how we can tighten the wheel.

"We tell all of our student athletes. We developed a policy internally and they know the consequences. We tell them constantly if you make a poor choice, if you're forthcomeing with us, there will be consequences, and should be, but if you're forthcoming and honest they won't be long-term in nature. If you're not, you could be done playing. Some players have chosen to ignore that at the time when they had to speak up and be responsible and accountable for their actions.

"And a lot of tims consequences have been doled out based on that element. But yeah I think we sent a strong message there that this has to stop and that was my message to them, 'Gentlemen, this poor decision making, this poor judgment, it has to stop.''

"Darnell (Dockett) would have not played because we know the situaton and it was poor decisin on his part. I said to him, it's hard for me sometimes, he had crossed the measuring stick. It's hard to undersand how someone cold make a choice in light of what they had observed, the poor choices they had observed prior to then.

"We've dismissed players. In my mind that is zero tolerance. I think not attending the bowl and not playing is a pretty severe consequence for missing a final exam and I tell you I support decision made given all the circumstances that occurred.

"Chris does have a real family situation he is dealing with, but as I told him 'a lot of people have problems,'' that does not make you immune to acountablilty and responsibility and particualry at quarterback.

"I think you have to judge and gauge each case idepently. There are never identical in nature and our policy states that if we have a student athlete make a poor decision and it's the first time he or she has done such opposed to someone who this is not the first time they've displayed poor decision makng then I think the consequences often times should be and are quite different in nature.

"Certainly that we have enough talent to continue to succeed and continue to perform at a high level. Success is measured differently here than it is at a lot of programs. There's a lot of programs who the last two years had they played in New Year's day bowls, and one BCS bowl, and won eight, nine 10 games, the coach would be getting a five year extension and a bunch of more money and people would be ecstatic. That is not the case here, nor do we want it be the case here."


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