The Wisconsin Badgers basketball program is in damage control mode.
This in the wake of an explosive article written in the Wisconsin State Journal, centered around a meeting between Greg Gard and his players in February.
In the meeting, players confronted Gard about their feelings about the program and their relationships, or lack thereof, with their head coach.
The meeting was secretly recorded with the audio being released on Tuesday.
This is a complicated situation, but here’s where I stand:
#1 – The meeting should not have been recorded and CERTAINLY should not have been released to the public. There’s an inner circle of trust when it comes to any organization, not just in athletics, that seems to have been violated here. For that, I feel bad for Gard, Chris McIntosh, and the players in the meeting, who believed their concerns would remain behind closed doors.
#2 – The violation of trust doesn’t change the content of the audio. There appear to be some cracks in the foundation of Greg Gard’s program. He needs to do a better job of connecting with today’s college athlete. Like it or not, the reality of the situation is that today’s player is more sensitive, more focused on personal brand, and more likely to articulate frustrations. If Gard can’t adapt, this is going to effect recruiting. The players in the meeting did not paint a picture of a place that I would want to live and play for four years if I were an 17-year old kid, or for that matter, that 17-year old kid’s parents.
Wisconsin seems to be supporting Gard, as they should given the circumstances of how this content was released.
But if nothing else comes of this, one thing is for certain: Gard and his program will be under the microscope moving forward.