Of all the things a coach can do wrong, knowingly corrupting his or her charges is pretty high up the list. Add to that using one's players as sources and transportation for illegal drugs, and you've got a vice-ridden cocktail of fireable -- not to mention illegal -- offenses.
That's exactly what Cedar Creek (Utah) High assistant football coach Carter Miller is charged with, after the the Iron/Garfield Counties Narcotics Task Force brought an investigation to the public attention, leading to charges and Miller's arrest on Wednesday. The coach and special education teacher resigned on the day of his arrest, and is slated to face charges of distribution of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, possessing a scheduled II controlled substance in a drug-free zone, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and receiving stolen property.
According to the Deseret News, Miller was fueling his personal addiction to prescription pain medications by having his players steal drugs from their families' medicine cabinets at home, then bring them to him. While it is unknown if Miller relied on his football players or special education students as his primary suppliers, school officials said that neither group of students is expected to be punished for any role they took with Miller's narcotic activities.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the investigation into the coach began when two students admitted providing prescription pain killers to the coach in December. One teenager reportedly gave Miller five Oxycontin pills, only for the coach to send him a text message asking for more, which led Miller to receive a bottle of some 20 Lortab pills. It's unknown how many pills the other student who came forward had supplied to the special education teacher.
"Our goal with the students is to educate and not look for punitive measures," Canyon View Principal Rick Nielsen told the News. "You're looking at 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds that should not have been asked to do anything other than their math homework in class.
"I am concerned with the students and their well-being, that they were put in a position to make choices that they shouldn't have to make."
While it's unknown whether Miller's plan and situation is unique, it's clearly a troubling incident. All that can be hoped is that other coaches -- and school employees in any capacity -- haven't been depraved enough to try a similar plan.