Home > Current Events > a second take on the Asa Chapman situation

a second take on the Asa Chapman situation

Santiago Leon has a post today about the return of suspended player Asa Chapman to the Liberty University football team, with video from WSET-TV [link].

I don’t believe the piece actually mentions that Chapman was arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana; it just mentions a “felony drug arrest.” In my estimation the piece is otherwise fine: it lays out the charges, it gives Coach Rocco ample time to defend his decision, and it draws a straight line between team performance and the decision to return Chapman to the team (they’re 1-2 and facing Lehigh Saturday).

During my time at Liberty students who got caught doing something dismissal-worthy disappeared literally overnight. I definitely got the impression that students were often tricked into making some sort of confession with a false promise of leniency, and that the standard of justice for serious offenses was unevenly applied. So I am inclined to view the Chapman situation with something of a jaundiced eye; it really looks like there’s one standard of behavior for athletes, another for almost everybody else.

Still, Coach Rocco has a reputation in the community for being something of a stand-up guy who could generally be relied upon to do what is best for the University community, rather than being a win-at-all-costs guy. But that’s mostly based on anecdote and rumor; I think this episode constitutes a real test of character for Rocco in particular and the University in general.

I don’t believe for a split second that anyone arrested for felony drug possession in my day would have been welcomed back on campus. Something must have changed in the meantime, and I’m not sure if it’s for better or worse.


  1. Vince
    September 23, 2011 at 10:46 am


    The University has changed quite a bit from when you attended, and even since I attended, which was just 5 years ago. According to the Liberty Way, possession of illegal substances can result in expulsion, although it is not mandatory. Perhaps more leniency is granted these days, although Rocco could have reinstated him for last week’s game against highly-ranked JMU if this was a case of athletic favoritism. I personally think Liberty needs to reexamine the Liberty Way and adjust as necessary to promote more restoration.

    • September 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      I’ve been debating posting about the Chapman situation again, but I had mostly decided against it. I’ve got other things to do and fish to fry, etc. I’m not a big fan of big-time college football, and I don’t think it has any place at a Christian university, and I have to admit that colors my impression of what’s going on here.

      Still, when I read this article:


      I was really surprised to see the quote from Coach Rocco at the bottom:

      Here at Liberty, we believe in offering support. That’s all we’re really doing. We’re supporting one of ours, a guy that made a mistake.

      This used to be the sort of talk that was railed against from the pulpit at chapel at Liberty, and it would have been contrasted with the approved approach of “calling sin sin.” So I’m puzzled, as I was in the Caner situation, to see loyalty valued so highly that it trumps considerations like whether somebody who “makes a mistake” like possession of cocaine and marijuana belongs in the university community.

      I don’t have enough information to make a definitive call here, so I won’t. I suppose it’s entirely possible that as part of the “testing” referred to in the article Chapman had to submit to drug tests and they came back clean, and it took ever-how-long to do the tests.

      And yeah, I guess a lot has changed in the last five years. In 2006 Jerry Sr was still alive.

  2. Vince
    September 23, 2011 at 10:51 am

    By the way, this is the University’s policy on “self-reporting,” taken directly from the Liberty way:


    Students are considered responsible members of the Christian community, each one with problems and needs reflective of individual maturity and self-understanding. Students may struggle with personal values and lifestyle as a natural part of being in college. The University wishes to be sensitive to this in the disciplinary process to provide the counsel and support necessary to promote this growth.

    In the early stages of adulthood, mistakes are often made and as a result, students are encouraged to find restoration when this occurs. If the mistake is a violation of The Liberty Way (6 to 30 reprimands), students have the option to begin the restoration process by way of assistance from a fellow community member through a “self-report.”

    NOTE: The intent/spirit of the self-report policy is meant for students who are truly under conviction and seeking restoration.

    Proverbs 28:13: “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”
    Self-Report Procedure

    A student has the option of self-reporting by voluntarily self-reporting to any Liberty University community member within one week of the offense. It is then the responsibility of the community member to whom the offense was reported to accompany the student to the Student Care Office as soon as possible. If an investigation has begun and there is already prior knowledge of the incident, it will not be considered a self-report. The appropriate Student Care Officer will work with the student in setting the necessary boundaries and accountability measures in place to foster an environment for growth. This plan will not include reprimands or fines. Students will not be allowed to “self-report” the same behavior more than once per semester without sanctions.

    • September 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks Vince. Do you know of a current download link for the most recent Liberty Way? The copy I have is several years old.

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