UW-Whitewater student paper nearly banned from covering football team

Devin Henry

The coach of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s football team had threatened to ban the school’s student newspaper from covering the team after an opinion piece criticizing athletes ran in the paper.

The piece in question, called, "Spoiled athletes need reality check," was published in The Royal Purple, Whitewater’s paper. It alleged a series of atheletes were working out in the on-campus weight room without showing their student ID’s.

Lance Leipold

"The villains are the ‘adults’ – the coaches and administrators – who send the message it’s acceptable to behave how you want because you can run fast or jump high," the paper’s Michael Daly wrote in the signed opinion piece.

The team’s coach, Lance Leipold, had responded by threatening to bar the paper from covering his team…and had used quite colorful language to justify his stance.

From the Royal Purple:

"This is [expletive deleted] bulls—," Leipold said. "It’s going to be a b—- to try to cover football next season."
Moreover, Leipold made it clear anyone affiliated with the student-run newspaper could not call anyone associated with the football team unless he approves. Furthermore, his athletes and coaches will not be allowed to answer questions from student reporters at games for the 2009 season, Leipold threatened.
"The door is shut," Leipold said. "Go cover soccer, I have [head coach] Greg Henschel’s number, I’m sure that will be fun."

Now, the school says the coach has apologized and will, "cooperate" with the team in the future. 

"This is by no means a reflection on Warhawk Athletics," Whitewater Athletics Director Paul Plinske said in the statement. "Instead, it is an instance where an excellent coach allowed his passion for the program and his team to get the best of him. Coach Leipold knows his behavior was unacceptable.”

Regardless, an interesting incident for the press, student newspaper or not.