Thursday, November 19, 2009

A different kind of education, courtesy of Univ. of Kansas

Kansas' head football coach, Mark Mangino, is under investigation by the Athletic Director for alleged verbally and physically abusive behavior. According to some former players, it wasn't unusual for Mangino to use personal matters that had been disclosed in confidence to teammates when ridiculing a player in front of the team. He also allegedly poked a player in the chest recently during practice, allegedly not the first time he touched a player.

Why is this coming to light now, if according to Mangino, he hasn't changed the way he coaches his players or the approach he and his coaching staff uses with the players? After starting the season 5-0 and since losing the next 5 games, some would argue that this is discontent among the players over the direction of the program. Similar to other working environments, perhaps things get overlooked when all is going well and expectations are exceeded than when it looks like you might be headed downward.

A former player in the article, along with Mangino, rests on the notions that Mangino isn't doing anything differently than he has during his tenure as a coach, and he's not doing anything that other coaches in the Big 12 conference aren't doing. Certainly, having context is necessary whenever actions are reviewed--context both at your workplace and in your industry. But as well all know, breaking the same policy multiple times doesn't make one's actions acceptable. Not to say that Mangino has broken any policies; just observing that if his defense is resting on, "This is how I've always done it," and "I'm not any different than the other coaches in this conference," he may be in for a rocky road.

This type of investigation gives HR professionals the opportunity to see what it takes to spark an investigation and how outsiders (of both company- and team-ilk) impact the investigation. No doubt, some PR and HR tips will be gleaned before this matter is considered closed.

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