Most people only think about what football players do on the field and not the academic and behavioral standards they must maintain off the field. TJC Head Football Coach Danny Palmer emphasized that student-athletes must first be good students.
“There’s a lot of responsibility in being a student-athlete,” said Palmer, who is in his fifth year as head coach of the Apaches.
Football team members practice every morning as well as attend classes in the afternoon and at night. They must maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 to remain eligible to compete. Freshmen must maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete at least 24 credit hours in order to be eligible to participate the next season.
A few of the players agreed that it could be challenge at the college level to excel both on and off the field.
“It’s harder than most people think. We have to focus on football, school, and staying out of trouble with the girls,” said Alton Clines, a member of the team’s red shirt squad. “It’s nothing like high school, where the teachers and coaches showed a little favoritism toward us if they like us.”
Members of the red-shirt squad must attend practices, take part in conditioning drills, attend mandatory study halls, and meet strict curfews just like the players on the team roster.
TJC also has a strict no-fighting policy. Team members who get caught fighting face disciplinary action. Students who get in a fight on campus could lose any scholarships they possess, and be kicked out of school, according to the student code of conduct. Students who get in fights off campus can also be expelled.
“It (campus disciplinary policy) takes care of itself,” Coach Palmer said. “We go by the policy and show no favoritism.”
Even though all players go through adversity, Coach Palmer said that he expects the best from them and that he will not tolerate anything less.
“When they sign a national letter (to play football) here, they know our expectation are high, and that will never change,” Palmer said.