Maybe this is the reason why Jackson State University head football coach Rick Comegy was not given a contract extension.
According to reports, Comegy and his Tigers will be banned from participation in postseason play this fall after the team’s Academic Progress Rate dropped below 900 for the third consecutive year.
This latest development also places Jackson State athletic department in danger of losing NCAA membership and or privileges.
The Academic Progress Rate, created in 2003, is a four-year figure that tracks academic performance for NCAA athletic programs.
Comegy, who will be entering his sixth season at Jackson State, did not receive a contract extension following an 8-3 regular season.
With a new athletics director expected to be named in the not-too-distant future to replace the retired Robert Braddy, it appeared Comegy’s days were numbered.
The team not being able to achieve academically might have sealed his fate with JSU president Carolyn Meyers.
More than likely the football program failed to meet APR standards due to the practice of Comegy recruiting borderline student-athletes and filling out the remainder of the roster with transfers — something the former Division II coach has done ever season since taking over for the mercurial James Bell.
The Tigers program featured more than 20 this past season.
Bringing in transfers might be a quick fix to immediate roster problems. However, it has been a poison pill academically speaking, considering not even half the football team can successfully complete semesters or even graduate on time.
At Comegy’s introductory press conference in between greasing the wheels of football fans, administrators and boosters in 2005 the coach stressed that he wanted to recruit football players who were committed to achieving on the field as well as in the classroom.
“I want to find out what the academics are first,” Comegy said that day. “I want to let them know about the student-athletes first. It is important for us to find quality athletes that will be productive on and off the field.”
Apparently that was lie. A lie that Jackson State might have a hard time recovering from than the mess Bell left behind upon his departure.
That is a sobering reality. A reality that needs to be handled with a swift and iron fist.
Jackson State needs to fire Comegy. Meyers needs to hold a press conference right now announcing it.
Failing to hold student-athletes accountable off-the-field is just as bad as failing to do so on the field. It is part of the job along with film study and drawing up game plans.
It is well understood that Comegy was hired to win football games. But academic standards should not take a back seat to the win-at-all-cost mentality, especially when it endangers the entire athletic department.
Comegy might have been a winner when he came to Jackson State, but now more than likely he will leave as its biggest loser.