Police escorts for college football coaches, why? College football is a loved sport. The coaches greatly influence how a team plays and whether or not they succeed. Some coaches become celebrities and can be seen with police escorts, although this might bring up some questions.
College football coaches are often escorted by the police to and from games so they can be protected from people with negative feelings towards them. Another big reason is that the coaches pay for the escort so they can get to and from games quickly and safely while avoiding traffic in big cities.
So now that we understand the basic reason why police escorts are common for college football coaches, there are many other facets of this issue that should be discussed.
Some of these include going deeper into why police escorts have become an option for college football coaches, whether or not it’s common for all college football coaches to have police escorts if this is commonplace practice for professional football coaches, and why some people criticize the use of police officers to escort college football coaches.
Why the Police Escort College Football Coaches
The main two reasons the police will often escort college football coaches is to address safety and time concerns. However, there is often much more to the story. Many college football coaches are aware of the cities the games are in, and the college football stadiums are often in the heart of traffic.
Many coaches feel that it is a good idea to request a police escort to ensure that they get to the stadium well before game time. There have even been moments where they will order a police escort for their team when they know that their players have exams.
These exams make it difficult for them to make it to the airport in time to fly to and from their out-of-state game, and a missed flight could cost the players their exam. That said, police escorts are often more about helping the coaches remain punctual than protecting themselves or the players.
It’s also common courtesy for home teams to pay for escorts for the opposing team, which is how it’s been for a long time. One of the first coaches to do it was Bear Bryant. Bear Bryant was a big coach for the University of Alabama. He is one of the coaches accredited for making the team as renowned as they are today.
He often wore houndstooth hats to games. Houndstooth has become a pattern that has been incorporated into merchandise in memory and recognition of him. Some fans during his time would try and steal his houndstooth hats, likely for monetary gain or prestige.
So, he hired police escorts to help protect him and his hats. This has clearly developed into a much bigger tradition than he probably intended.
When police are asked about escorting college football players and coaches, they often acknowledge the fact that the coaches might be targeted by crazy fans who have negative feelings and intentions regarding those coaches.
They also mention that the crowds pose a problem even if they have positive feelings towards the coach.
Being swarmed by fans is not fun and can result in a coach feeling flustered, agitated, or having a much harder job getting to and from the game and accomplishing his job. Large groups of people can also cause injuries by crowding the coach and not being aware of those around them.
Usually, in the end, it is a matter of the team or coach paying for a service and the police providing the service. Police escorts are operated similarly to a funeral procession.
Do Police Officers Also Escort Professional Football Coaches?
When it comes to football coaches who coach for more professional teams, such as those in the National Football League, police escorting is entirely dependent on whether or not there is a perceived threat or if the football coach pays for the service.
There have been moments where professional-level teams like the Chicago Cubs and the Seattle Seahawks have ordered a police escort. It is much less common at the professional level than at the college level, probably due to the potential for negative publicity and the number of escorts that would need to be purchased. Instead, coaches for these teams find other ways to get to their vehicles while avoiding a crowd of people and causing a commotion.
Is Having a Police Escort Commonplace for Coaches at the College Level?
It is more commonplace for coaches at the college level to have a police escort than for those at a professional level. One of the big reasons that this is the case is that college football stadiums are usually state property and thus protected by local police officers or state troopers.
They don’t necessarily need to hire or go to any effort to get the police there. They might need to ask for an escort, but some police officers take pride in escorting a football coach. The team or the NFL often owns professional stadiums.
This means the team or the NFL hires all security, so they hire security primarily through private companies, rather than local police departments.
Why People Criticize the Use of Police Escorts for Football Coaches
There are a large number of reasons why people criticize the use of police escorts for football coaches.
The main reasons include the conflict with the purpose of the police department, a lack of police resources in general, and the fact that this may cause an increase of danger for civilians and others traveling through the area at the same time.
The Police department is meant to be used to protect citizens and enforce laws, and many say that coaches using police escorts is selfish.
Police officers using their ability to stop traffic for a coach and his team because they paid money for the service seems to conflict with the purpose of the police department and the privileges they have been given.
This is why many disagree with the practice. Another thing that makes this controversial is that police departments nationwide are decreasing and have fewer police officers than ever before.
This means that losing a few officers to escort can leave entire areas of a city unmonitored and unprotected. This can cause issues within the community and cause them to distrust their police department.
There have also been instances where police officers and team members receive injuries during an escort. In Minneapolis, there was an officer who was part of a motorcade and fell victim to a motor accident when he collided with an exit ramp guardrail.
This crash led to two buses holding team members that were following the police cruiser crashing into each other. Luckily, no one was seriously injured, and that department has since stopped offering escorts until rules and regulations for motorcades have been clarified.
Police Escorts are usually reserved for people who have a high need for protection or to get to a location speedily. It’s not surprising that football coaches and their roles in football games are starting to be considered important enough to protect in this way.
College football is something that many love and are united by, and it could cause widespread disappointment if a team couldn’t get to their games on time because of traffic, and police escorts help with that.