Texas A&M’s season of horrible news continues as a former Aggie trainer has violated the code and dropped the disturbing dirt about life on the Kyle Field sidelines.
In the latest episode of HBO’s Real Sports, long time Aggie athletic trainer Karl Kapchinski said that during his career it was standard to clear the “good players” so they could get back on the field despite injury.
Show of hands who is surprised by this? Show of hands who thinks this behavior is specific only to A&M?
Kapchinski worked at A&M for 31 years, and was named the 2005 Division I College Athletic Trainer of the Year - whatever that means. Despite his credentials, he was fired by former A&M director of athletics Eric Hyman in 2013; that is why Kapchinski is talking to Real Sports.
He is a ‘79 graduate of Texas A&M, worked at the school for 31 years and was fired on Nov. 1, 2013. He was 56 when he was dismissed.
According to Suzane Halliburton of the Austin American Statesman, Kapchinski filed a lawsuit with Texas A&M claiming that he was fired because of his age and not because of “unacceptable job performance” as Hyman wrote.
Kapchinski was likely canned not because of job performance but rather he fit the description of something Hyman never liked in his employees - long timers.
I was at TCU as a media relations graduate assistant in the spring of 1998 when Hyman was hired to replace the retiring Frank Windegger as athletic director with the tacit instruction from chancellor William Tucker to clean house. A lot of the people in that department were older, had been around a long time, and such a move was in order.
But Hyman told my boss, the late Glen Stone, that he felt people should change jobs and that 15 years was too long to be in one place. Then he fired Stone.
Hyman certainly followed that path and changed positions from Miami of Ohio to Virginia Military Academy to TCU to South Carolina to Texas A&M.
Something Hyman never appeared to grasp is that his philosophy is not for everybody; it sounds great in theory in practice it can be exceptionally difficult for a variety of justifiable reasons.
Hyman, 65, recently stepped down from his position in College Station.
The teeth of this story is not the age discrimination but Kapchinski telling Real Sports he was pushed by coaches to clear players before they were fully recovered from injuries.
HBO reporter Jon Frankel asked Kapchinski, “If you said to a coach, ‘Coach, I know we said it was gonna be four weeks, but we need an extra week.’ What would the coach say to you?”
Kapchinski: “You would be challenged on your character, your credentials. You know, maybe you were the wrong guy for the job.”
This should really help currently embattled Aggies head football coach Kevin Sumlin in recruiting.
I completely believe Kapchinski in this claim, but to think that only the Aggies coaches forced his hand on such decisions and other coaches all over the land at all levels are not doing the exact same thing is naive.
There exists such a deep conflict of interests for “team” doctors and “team” trainers that well-meaning people such as Kapchinski feel they have no choice but to protect their job so they do as their told.
Nothing will likely come of this other than a six-figure settlement, and it’s just more embarrassing news for the Aggies in an academic year where they don’t need more.