In Defense of Bud Foster

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Bud Foster
Bud Foster

Earlier tonight, a story broke about Virginia Tech fining football players part of their Cost of Attendance stipend for certain violations.  Since I was there when the comments were made, I wanted to clear something up.

Deadspin is going after Bud Foster for this, because he’s the one who made the comments.  Specifically, one Kevin Draper of Deadspin, who was not at the interview, called Foster, and I quote, an “Asshole.”  Pardon my breaking the rules of our own terms of service.

First of all, here’s the video of the interview in question that I shot this evening.

The very first question Foster was asked when he got to the lectern was about Cost of Attendance fines.  He was not prepared for it.  Why was the question asked?  Because the media had good evidence and reason to believe that the football program was starting a policy of “fining” players a portion of their Cost of Attendance for infractions such as missing meetings, missing treatment, missing class, etc. The question was valid.

I also want to point out that this is not the policy of the Virginia Tech athletic department.  If this policy was being looked into or implemented, it was done solely by the Tech football program without consultation of the athletic director.  Why?  Because the football program was used to doing things on their own for years with Jim Weaver as the AD, so they just continued to do the same thing without believing it would be an issue.

But that’s not the point. The point is that Foster is getting attacked for no reason.  Literally 5-10 minutes before Foster arrived to do interviews, the media came across evidence that these “fines” were happening.  Bud Foster did not call a press conference to announce that players were being fined, or that he supported players being fined.  He just happened to be the first coach at the lectern.  The question was going to get asked whether that coach was Bud Foster, Frank Beamer, Scot Loeffler, Shane Beamer, or whomever.  Foster probably should have been more tactful and pulled a Scot Loeffler by saying “That’s a great question for Coach Beamer.”  I wish he had.  But he was blindsided, and mistakes happen.

Obviously Foster wasn’t prepared.  He said they were considering it, and didn’t get into any details.  He got attacked because a national reporter who was not present read about the interview in Twitter and took the quotes out of context.  Bud Foster isn’t out to get anyone.  He’s not against players getting paid Cost of Attendance.  He just happened to be the first man up at the mic immediately after the media got word of the alleged policy.

This is no more Bud Foster’s fault that it is any other assistant’s fault.  All his players and his former players love him.  You won’t get any of them to say anything negative about Foster.  He’s most certainly not an “Asshole” as the Deadspin writer contests.  That’s the type of conclusion you draw when you shoot off at the mouth about an interview in which you weren’t even present, and which you didn’t even watch online.  You just read some Tweets, and decided that an “article” (it was three paragraphs with four embedded tweets) was in order.

I was present, and I’ll say it: Foster didn’t do anything wrong.  He got ambushed.  He’s getting attacked for a policy that he isn’t responsible for.

Does that mean we don’t have reason to worry, however?  We do.  I’ve been saying since the spring that this ship (meaning the football program, not the athletic department as a whole) isn’t run as tightly as it used to be, and this is another example.  When the football team was criticized for poor behavior at the “Take Back the Night Event” in the spring, I wrote that the whole team never should have been at the event without proper supervision in the first place.  Frank Beamer delegates a lot when it comes to things like that.  There’s nothing wrong with delegating.  He delegates his defense to Foster, and it works out great.  But when you start delegating to people who make the wrong decisions, it’s going to turn out poorly, and the head man is ultimately responsible.

So yes, this incident is a concern.  Fining football players a part of their Cost of Attendance flies in the face of Whit Babcock’s “Pylons of Promise” program that was announced last spring.  The “Pylons of Promise” include the Cost of Attendance, career development, concussion research, a student assistant fund, loss of value insurance, etc.  In short, Whit Babcock’s program is about supporting student athletes.  The football program’s alleged policy of fining players for certain violations does not exactly go hand in hand with this policy.  The fact that the program was planning on implementing, or had implemented, this new policy without consulting the athletic department is a bad sign.  I’m guessing that Babcock will have the program on a bit of a short leash from here on out.  He already had to make a public statement…

This article’s main point was to defend Bud Foster against some national criticism that, as a person who was present at the incident, I feel he does not deserve. Were mistakes made? Sure. Is Bud Foster what the Deadspin writer (I use the term “writer” loosely) called him? No.

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48 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Sad that college athletes are so pampered that not only are they now getting PAID to play (and get a free education that costs other students tens if not hundreds of thousands), even SUGGESTING that they could be docked in pay/fined for bad behavior sends people into an uproar. I got fined for tons of things when I was in college (mostly parking) and I paid every penny to keep it from being taken out of my student aid. In the real world I have sat on my butt at home without getting paid as a disciplinary measure more than once.

    Considering such a system was by no means out of line, problem is that it becomes a recruiting tool for other schools to use against us. “Go to VT and they will hold you accountable and fine you for blowing off your responsibilities. Come to FSU and not only will that NOT happen, we will get you out of criminal charges on your way to the NFL”. THAT is what this is about, and it disgusts me.

  2. I want to pile on a couple of points already made. First the real A-hole here is Kevin Draper, not Bud Foster. If Draper were half the reporter that Bud is a coach, he wouldn’t be publishing on Deadspin and disrespecting people like Bud Foster. Second, I think this is just a needed adjustment to the new WB regime, and it’s a good thing WB, CFB, and Bud are getting on the same page. So let’s move on and get refocused on preps for the upcoming season. Thanks to the TSL staff for such prompt and balanced coverage.

  3. I give Bud a pass on this one. Anyone can make a mistake. I think the key issue here is that we now clearly understand who is in charge of this program and I am very pleased about that.

  4. Great negative spin at the end – I was afraid you weren’t going to find a hook for one. To me this is a good reason to keep the media away from coaches and players. I would bet that TSL, like operations large and small, “talks” about a lot of things internally that are never implemented and would not like to defend. You can’t stop people from reporting from a distance without the facts. You can stop the press from asking a coach coming off the practice field facing a huge game and logically expecting questions about that practice and that big game from having access to the team during these preparations.

  5. Just more media experts that got passed over unfairly by the NASA program. Drama sells and if there isn’t any make some. I’ll stick with Bud! Go Hokies Beat OSU!

    1. The media didn’t “make” anything. The fine schedule was on a TV screen that was visible. Then they asked about it. It’s up to the football staff to know what the heck they are doing…

      1. The media “MADE” the “DRAMA” to sell it and boost ratings when sports ratings are slow. They called Bud an A-hole…was that on the screen as well. NO! it wasn’t. The coaches are trying to create a winning team and they know what they are doing. I’m behind Bud all the way. Do you want players who break the rules and respect no one. Tech and Bud did nothing wrong. From what I’ve read and heard the NCAA really doesn’t rules on the issue. Players didn’t even have the money before. I guess Bud is a A-hole for that as well. Tech is not doing anything wrong and blasting and degrading Bud is “MADE” up ” DRAMA” . Bud has a much better record then the media. Research how Americans see the media on honesty and truthfulness. It’s not good so I’m going with Bud.

        1. We put up a fine system in front of where the media gathers… The media did not create the story, nor the fine system. They questioned it as they should, as it was something new. The one deadspin idiot that called Bud an a-hole is not representative of the media response as a whole.

  6. To me this episode crystallizes that VT football is on the cusp of some major changes. If there was any lingering doubt that Frank Beamer is no longer the Big Kahuna of the athletic department, or that Bud Foster isn’t going to the next HC at Tech, this episode removed it. Should the policy have been run by Whit? Sure- but that’s no longer the point. Frank’s too old to tolerate a young AD publicly yanking his leash like this, and Whit’s not going to allow anyone to have the impression that he’s going to be submissive to an aging legend. I’m calling it right now: Beamer will announce his retirement before December 31st, and it wouldn’t shock me if Bud went looking for a DC job elsewhere.

  7. Shakespeare – “Much Ado about Nothing” in the end it is all bollucks. So get out there and beat osu!

    GO HOKIES!!!

  8. Andy Biter’s interview with Whit this AM clears everything up, really a tempest in a teapot.

  9. These young men do need to follow the rules and be accountable for their actions, on and off of the field. Doing so with fines is not (IMO) the way to solution this when student-athletes are already constrained from earning spending money due to their in and off season commitments to their sport. It is time to reign in some of the old ways of doing business and I for one am very confident in Whit to figure this out and, tighten up the old ways. Chris, thanks for your report and honest appraisal…now back to OSU. GO HOKIES!

  10. Seems like “withholding” for some period of time a portion of the COA $ would get the message across but not go over the top

  11. Here we have a case where Bud’s mouth was moving before he engaged his brain. How many of us can say that we’ve never done the same? I find it interesting that this story has “legs” (Was it slow news day in CFB?).
    To follow-up on Chris’s comment (Is Frank no longer running a “tight ship?”), I have to say that I certainly can’t judge from where I’m at (Nebraska). I do have a sense that Frank is not as involved as he used to be – and he kind of inferred that when he said that he was very comfortable with his staff, was able to sit down and watch practice, etc.
    I’m not sure what needs (or should) be done. but I am happy to see Whit asserting himself (as he should).

  12. Pretty typical for what passes for “journalism” these days. Id bet this guy from Deadspin is some mealy mouth little pu$$y that never played a sport growing up and got stuffed in a lot of trashcans as a youth…

  13. Well …. While Foster shouldn’t be the only VT football coach to bear the brunt of the reaction to whatever was done by the football program, he is – after CFB – the second most recognized symbol of said program. IF the program was using COA money as fines, and I don’t know the whole story so I don’t know, then Bud Foster is a legit “target” for criticism – whether he was first up or last. The use of “asshole” was for headlines, but if what is being alleged happened, and all the coaches agreed to it, then … does the show fit, on all of them?

  14. Football program made a mistake and that one is on Coach Beamer. The AD is in charge of athletics period and this “consideration” should have been run by him b/4 anyone on the coaching staff said a word about it. The answer to the question could have been any other coach on staff so Coach Beamer needs to put his ego aside and accept responsibility for this mistake. I totally support Whit on this one and we are lucky to have him as AD at Tech.

    1. Was Bud covering for Coach Beamer or should have Coach Beamer prepared his staff for this question?

  15. Ole Kevin will be working for The Roanoke Times if he keeps doing this type of BS Reporting . And less than two weeks away from a Big Game with plenty to write about , it Amazes to me to see such a poor selection of articles or reporting. From Anyone in the Business . Another example of Some One Making a story instead of getting a Practice Report, I guess that’s what the coaches tries to share at these times . Is It Not ? Fans get tire of this stuff, I sure Do.

    1. The media/he didn’t make the story, stop saying that nonsense. It was a legit story, one that should never have existed, and that’s on Frank…

      1. Glad to see you never miss an opportunity…you are so predictable, it is laughable! I will grant you are consistent.

        Bud made a mistake , he misspoke. It isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. To the extent that the head man is ultimately responsible for EVERYTHING, you are not wrong. would YOU have handled this algroh? Put a muzzle on everyone?! That worked REAL well down the road

        1. I never miss an opportunity to what? Have concerns over the state of the program of the years? You will get no disagreement from me…

          Just say that there is no fine system. If it’s only in the discussion phase, then it by definition doesn’t exist…

          1. I don’t disagree that Bud misspoke…not sure I could make the reach to Frank. This is how they have operated since Day 1.

            Bud speaks in absolutes. It is how he talks. I remember him explaining after BC when Ryan beat us, People (myself included) wondered why he went to a type of prevent when we’d killed Ryan all night. Bud took umbrage with the question from fans and said, ‘That’s why they are fans…they don’t know S$#%”!! I actually laughed azt his statement, but it wasn’t the correct thing to say, not really.

            He said something he shouldn’t have. Isn’t a first for Bud, yet Frank will ALWAYS trust him to speak to the media. iiwii

  16. At least its Deadspin. Which, is the lowest common denominator as far as publications. They get their jollies pandering to the bottom of the barrel waiting to pounce.

    1. Unfortunately it’s running across the bottom of ESPN, probably will be all day, and specifically mentions Bud Foster, etc. The story is apparently a big deal.

  17. Kevin Draper of Deadspin seems to be a self-seeking person unfortunately given the confidence of a “Reporter”. I hope that this incident removes much of that confidence so that he has to work hard to get it back. Go Hokies!

  18. Foster is great. Fining players isn’t going to happen. Okay, so…can we get back to talking about the upcoming game against Ohio State?! Like, did I just see that another of their receivers is injured? And, can Braxton Miller make the transition from QB to receiver in a few weeks when it seems to take guys at VT who try it like four years… (I’m talking to you Marcus Davis, and oh yeah, Joel Caleb, almost forgot that dudes name.)

    And hey, why do we need a third receiver anyway? We’ve got Bucky Hodges for crying out loud, did you see the picture of him lined up across from Fuller? It’s 6th graders vs. 2nd graders with the size difference.

  19. Chris, have to say I agree with you 100% on Bud, but not on the your point on the Virginia Tech’s/our “Pylons of Promise” program. Go back and read the article you link. Yes it is a commitment to the student athlete and much different from when I was a student athlete 37 years ago. But what is not different is the basis of the PoP – “the ideals emblazoned on the eight pylons at the Virginia Tech War Memorial Court and the athletics department’s core values of integrity, service, honor, and excellence and strong together.”

    The 8 pylons are:
    Ut Prosim – That I may serve

    Whether you are a Corp member or not (I am not), each of us as VT grads should know what is written on the pylons and attempt to live by the creed. The commitment to the student athlete comes with a cost to the the student athlete to commit as well. If student athletes cannot show up to classes, practices, and training sessions without a valid reason they are not meeting their commitment. Whether docking the “cost of attendance” is the right cost for failure to live up to their end of the commitment is different discussion, but there should be a cost to the student athlete for not fulfilling his/her commitment to the team, the students, VT, the donors an VT family as a whole. A great career development lesson is if you do not honor your responsibilities you will quickly be given the opportunity to develop your career somewhere else. Brotherhood, Honor, Leadership, Sacrifice, Service, Loyalty, Duty, Ut Prosim is not about what’s in it for me.

    1. I agree 100%, but the real issue here is why the football program does something like that without consulting the athletic department? I really don’t care if they fine players for being late. There should be punishment for not following the rules. But the fact that they are going stuff like that without Whit’s consent is the disturbing part.

      For example, I wouldn’t go out and make business decisions for TSL without consulting Will.

      1. I do get that part. I’m still not clear that they WERE implementing it…he said potentially as in they were looking at it.

        1. Then the media savvy thing is to say is we have no discipline system like that. Cut it off right away…

      2. I agree that those days are over, but you answered your own question. That IS how it always the PAST. This is a new day. I expect, lesson learned.

      3. I think you’d execute if you believed that a decision was in your authority wheelhouse. Based only on what I’ve read here, it appears reasonable to think this was something the program did not believe met the “ask permission” threshold. I think an equally interesting proposition to consider, would Whit have taken the action/made the comments he did if he knew about it beforehand and had a an orchestrated response at the ready? Is this more a brand maintenance maneuver by WB than a chain of command reaffirmation (coordinate your activity with affected parties rather than seek permission)? Chalk it up to learning the new operational paradigm I suppose but, an air biscuit none the less…

  20. Typical “journalism” of the type that likes to grandstand about players being exploited without doing any actual research.

  21. Ah yes. The internet…50% BS and 45% agreeing with the BS.
    Thank goodness for the remaining 5%.

  22. I support Bud Foster 100%.
    But what the hell was Frank thinking implementing this kind of stupid policy or even contemplating about it ? Has he lost it for real ? He needs to stop putting clowns in charge.

    1. I wouldn’t even go so far as to call it a stupid policy. What I would say is this. It was STUPID for the football program to consider this new policy WITHOUT running it by AD Babcock.

      And as Chris has said many times, the football program hasn’t had to answer to the AD since the UNCheat fiasco. Weaver played chicken with Beamer which nearly resulted in Beamer taking the entire football program down to Chapel Hill.

      Weaver lost, Beamer won. After that Beamer’s football program was an autonomous program within the athletic department. Beamer no longer answered to the AD.

      With the new AD, came a different culture. Whit is in charge of all aspects of the various athletic programs. Beamer/Ballein aren’t used to that change yet.

      1. Atlee is exactly right…I think this was one of those “defining moments”, like the one he mentioned with Weaver/Frank early on. This set the NEW tone….

        i ALSO agree that it isn’t necessarily a stupid policy, only that Whit should have been the one on the front end.

        That writer may want to call ME…If he wants to call someone an AH. I’ll give him reason. I don’t see a huge problem in “docking” a guy money for NOT living up to THEIR responsibilities. It needs to be a two way street….Money talks.

        If you want to be PAID, I won’t argue that they really earn some money, then you need to be accountable to the people who are paying you. If NOT, then it is just another entitlement…and THAT i am against!

      2. Furthermore…the previous policy of reducing or withholding per
        diems for bowl games was probably within the purview of the football program since I imagine that funds were disbursed by members of the program in cash. Any offset against COA funds would ABSOLUTELY have to go through the Athletics Department for action. So Whit would HAVE to be consulted.

  23. The silver lining? It will support the ‘Bud Foster’s not enough of a seasoned exec to run a major D1 program’ argument. And he’ll be more likely to stay put once Rich Rod comes calling…

    One can dream.

    Regardless, BF will retract his comments and it will be a non-issue by tomorrow afternoon.

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