Victor Hampton Dismissed: What it Means
Victor Hampton has been dismissed for the USC Football team. While this comes as something of a blow to our defensive depth, nobody familiar with Hampton is shocked that the dismissal came as a result of his well-documented lack of work ethic. Some may characterize this turn of events as a poor reflection on the Gamecocks, but it is in fact a vindication of the football program’s ability to function with integrity.
Hampton was a risk as a recruit, haunted by a bad reputation that caused other big-time programs to back off of the four-star cornerback. That bad reputation had nothing to do with his football talent, but instead with his attitude, a sense of entitlement and a refusal to do the work expected of an SEC player. USC took that risk, and while Hampton was able to produce on the field, he never really grew out of his bad habits.
Since it has become impossible to mention a troubled Gamecock player without invoking the name of Steven Garcia, I find it necesssary to mention that even as knuckleheaded a character as Garcia has found it in himself to finally take on the leadership role expected of him this summer, organizing and leading summer offensive workouts. Garcia’s huge contributions on the field have made it easier for the coaching staff to work around his idiosyncracies, to be sure. Hampton never had the impact on the field that Garcia did, and never seemed all that interested in doing the work needed to elevate his play, prompting the Staff to present him with a contract in which Hampton would guarantee improved work habits. Hampton signed, then didn’t deliver.
Hampton’s former teammates responded to his dismissal with a collective shrug of the shoulders. They saw it coming. Contrast this reaction to the uproar among the same players over Garcia’s most recent suspension and it’s easy to see who they believe in and whom they didn’t.
So it’s down to this: The staff gave a chance to a troubled player and it didn’t work out. The staff made a second attempt to re-engage the player, and that didn’t work out either. The staff dismissed the player, and the rest of the team understood.
This chain of events demonstrates a well functioning football program.