Sunday, September 6, 2009

OK to Boo?

As I mentioned earlier, and as the local papers also pointed out, Bill Stull was booed loudly immediately after his first incompletion of the day.

Some, such as Ron Cook in the PG, suggest that Stull should not be booed because he is a college athlete:

I had to check three times yesterday to make sure Kordell Stewart wasn't playing quarterback for Pitt.

That's how rough many in the home crowd at Heinz Field treated Bill Stull in Pitt's easy, 38-3 win against ridiculously overmatched Youngstown State.

It was pretty pathetic, actually.

At least Stewart was a highly paid professional when he was booed and jeered by Steelers fans. Stull is a college kid. He deserved better from those in the stands who jumped his stuff as soon as his second incompletion ended Pitt's first possession.

I'm completely with Cook on the fact that the loud boos came much too soon. I think a fan has every right to boo when they want, but I don't believe one bad pass justifies it. Of course, it wasn't bad pass that fans really were upset about - it was most of 2008, but that's another story.

Going back to Cook's original point, which is to say college athletes shouldn't be booed because they're unpaid and not professional athletes. I have to wholeheartedly disagree.

They are young adults who are highly compensated for what they CHOOSE to do. They soak up the glory, the chicks, and all of the other free perks that come with the territory (including for a small few, the chance to coach, play in the NFL or professionally in other smaller leagues). And don't forget, most of them (meaning the athletes on the football team) get a full scholarship. I'm not sure what it runs these days, but let's say about $50,000 worth of a free education. That figure goes up even more for other students when you factor in all of the interest paid when taking out loans. Each player knows the possibility of being booed exists. Play well, you get cheered. Play poorly, you get booed. Sounds like an easy concept to me.

But let me get this straight - according to some people, we're supposed to cheer wildly when they do well and sit on our hands and do nothing when they perform poorly? Not sure I quite understand that.

Look, should they be treated exactly as professional athletes? Of course not. But sometimes what is lost is that big-time college sports is as close to professional as you can get. The fan puts down good money to watch a game and should carry just as much right to boo (or cheer) as they would for a professional game.


  1. I'm wondering whether some of those boos were toward the coaching staff moreso than toward Stull. Stull sucks, everyone knows it. It seems the only one who doesn't is the same person who has always had issues evaluating QBs at all levels of the game. Yes, I'm talking about Wanny.

  2. As for Cook's contention that this is only Stull's second full season of starting, it's also Daryll Clark's second full season of starting. And halfway through last season, even JoePa was quoted as saying he made a mistake of keeping him on the bench in favor of Morelli in previous seasons. How telling is it that Clark can experience success immediately, but the coaching staff is STILL trying to make Stull somewhat adequate?

  3. I think that if Cavanaugh was still there, that might hold some weight. But with him gone, I've got to think the boos were for Stull. He's been maligned even maybe more than Dave Wannstedt.

    And yes, the second full season stuff reeks of nonsense. In his first ever college game, USC freshman Matt Barkley went 15-19 for 233 yards and a touchdown - much better numbers than Stull's and against a much better opponent. Yes, Pitt's supporting cast is not USC's, but you get the point. Experience counts for something, but talent is much more important.

  4. Lee,

    I agree, talent will overtake!

    Better talented players will react faster and tend not to make the same mistakes over and over. Stull is a fifth year player and we all see what he can bring to the table. This is going to be an interesting year because Buffalo will be a tough game to win in Buffalo and Navy looks like they will give Pitt a game.

    I think we all conclude that Stull will struggle this year, but how the coaching staff deals with it, will be key to having a good season and going to a bowl game or have a losing season.

    Talent is key, experience counts, but you need coaching to put it all together.