Texas Tech Football: Appreciate The Integrity of Kliff Kingsbury


One of the ugliest subplots to the story of college football has become player discipline (or the lack there of).  Many schools have turned a blind eye to the off-field issues brewing within their program.  However, Kliff Kingsbury and Texas Tech have done an excellent job of being proactive in regards to player misconduct. Many rival programs cannot say the same.

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Details of violent acts by college football players continue to make headlines.  Far too often the narrative has been that of a school covering up its players’ atrocious actions.  In the high-stakes world of major college football, schools now must decide if player integrity is as important as winning.

Texas Tech, head coach Kliff Kingsbury has set a strong tone for his program.  Fortunately, every Red Raider can be proud of Kingsbury’s leadership.

Respect the Double-T

As a Texas Tech alum, Kingsbury has an emotional stake in the school’s reputation.  As soon as he took over in December of 2012 he made it known that his players would be held to the highest standards.

In a 2014 article  by Don Williams of the “Lubbock Avalanche Journal” the Texas Tech head coach talked about what he demands of his players.

"“You’re going to respect everybody that has to do with Texas Tech football, and you’re going to respect everybody that has to do with Texas Tech University, and you’re going to do the right things.”"

Most college football coaches will make the same type of public declaration about player behavior.  But, not every coach is willing to make the right moral decision when his program’s success is in the balance.

Kliff Kingsbury, on the other hand, seems to have no problem sticking to his word.

Taking Action

When confronted with misconduct issues, Kingsbury has properly taken swift and decisive actions.

The most prominent player discipline issue Kingsbury has dealt with involved one of his players hitting a woman.  In June 2014, corner back Nigel Bethel II punched a member of the Texas Tech Lady Raider basketball team, Amber Battle, during a pickup basketball game.

Bethel was immediately kicked off the team and dismissed from the university.  The 4-star recruit was reinstated to the program but only after Battle apologized for instigating the incident and advocated for Bethel’s reinstatement.

What is important to note is that Kingsbury and Texas Tech took immediate action.  There was no attempt to hide the details of the altercation.  (In fact, the university released video footage of the assault less than a month after it occurred).

Kingsbury’s actions are in stark contrast to those of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops who faced a similar situation.  In 2014, Sooners’ running back Joe Mixon punched a woman in an off-campus restaurant.

Stoops never dismissed Mixon from the program.  Rather, the five-star recruit was merely suspended for a year.

In reality, Mixon simply used a red shirt season to serve as his punishment.  Furthermore, surveillance footage of the incident was withheld for over two years.  Ultimately, a lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters was the only reason the footage was ever released at all.

In both cases, Kingsbury and Stoops had to face the prospect of losing a highly coveted player due to the physical assault of a woman.  Kingsbury, the younger and less experienced coach acted in a more appropriate manner than the veteran Stoops.

Program Transparency

Under Kingsbury’s watch, Texas Tech has been open and as forthcoming as legally possible regarding alleged crimes committed by players.

For example, consider how the case of Dakota Allen , Trace Ellison and Robert Castaneda was handled.  The three players were dismissed from the team after an alleged home invasion in January 2016.

Allen was set to be the top returning tackler on a Red Raider defense in desperate need of as much talent as possible.  Still, he spent the 2016 season at East Mississippi Community College while the Texas Tech defense struggled mightily for another season.

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Fortunately for Allen and the Red Raiders, the charges against him (and the two other players) were dropped. Now a junior, Allen will rejoin the Texas Tech football program for the 2017 season but only after facing severe consequences for his actions.

Contrast Kingsbury’s actions with those of former Baylor head coach Art Briles.

Just this week, documents detailing the disturbing efforts Briles and his Baylor staff made in covering up allegations of sexual and physical assault by football player were released.

It is clear that Baylor’s football program conspired with community authorities to hide the illegal activities of football players.

Meanwhile, Texas Tech has taken every step necessary to work with local law enforcement to keep the community of Lubbock safe.

Tough Decisions

To say that everything Kliff Kingsbury has done at Texas Tech has been a success would be false.  His losing record suggests that he has a long way to go.

However, he must also be praised for the culture of accountability he has instilled, even though it has set his program back in many ways.  Whether it has been the suspension of quarterback Jett Duffey or the dismissal of 2017’s only wide receiver commit Bronson Boyd Kingsbury has placed integrity and character above all.

Yes, Texas Tech fans have reason to be disappointed with on-the-field results.  But we all must be thankful that the reputation of the school has been made the highest priority by Kingsbury and the school administration.