The Maryland football team is a self-contained student body within a student body. It is walked off from the rest of the college community by sequestered living quarters, curfews and demanding football schedules.
Football stereotypes, which so often seem to be negative, thrive at College Park, because, as student body president Luis Luna said, "There's no interaction, nothing in common. We don't know how to treat them because we never see them."
There are two popular images of Terrapin football players as seen by Maryland students who, more than likely have never spoken to a football player:
The bigger-than-real hero, an oft-photographed face atop a bull neck, a human frophy to be displayed at a party or slung on a coed's arm.
The dumb jock with the towering ego, cruising through on gift grades and the $36 athletic fee every student is forced to pay, who can be observed in a bar on Rte. 1 delighting his several dates by separating the ceiling from the walks.
"I don't know what they could do to stop the stereotyping," said avid fan David Marker, director of a student organization concerned with consumer rights. "Maybe if they would ever show their faces and do something that's not connected with football, beer or girls."
While those three items are familiar to many football players, as well as other students, they are not the boundaries of the football player's existence.
Fullback Steve Koziol is taking flying lessons. Receiver Chuck White has worked in construction, the basic football player's offseason job, and has also earned $20 an hour modeling. Linebacker Brad Carr is a talented pianist. Backup quarterback Tim O'Hare acts in school plays.
Many of the players have participated in the Big Brothers program.
But stereotypes form easily and die hard. Last year, two players already on suspension were accused of destroying a bathroom in a Rte. 1 pub. In another incident outside the Rendezvous, another pub on Rte. 1 known to be popular with athletes, all-American Joe Campbell was arrested after an altercation with an officer.
So the bruiser image has gained new credence recently, and the players react defensively and pull the wall around them even closer.
"I think it's a vicious cycle," said Luna. "The more we stereotype them, the more alienated they become; and the more alienated they become, the more we stereotype them. I know the few football players I met while campaigning seemed nice, intelligent and courteous."
The only thing everyone seems to agree on is that the football players are indeed separate and, by their very visibility, considered aloof.
When and where do students mingle with players as people? Players are required to live on the top two floors of Ellicott Hall, cannot have female visitors and must observe a nightly curfew, thus banding them together to the exclusion of the outside world for almost every hour of the day. But what about classes, school functions, fraternity parties, political rallies?
"To the best of my knowledge, I've never had a course with a scholarship athlete in it," said Marker, a senior statistics major. "I've never seen them at political rallies, at anti-tuition hike rallies or at the food Co-op.
"I see them at the Rendezvous and at mixers (dances). I remember one player coming to a mixer and demanding free beer.
"If they didn't have all their strange rules, they would probably mix more.You always see them in groups, and I'm sure that's forced on them because they have to get home at 11. I wonder how much of you hear about them is just image. If they would put in more time with the students, we would have a more true view of jocks."
Alan Sea, a senior and the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, says he does not recall a varsity football player writing for the Diamond Back in the last four years.
Sea is not friendly with any football players.
"My best impression is that the average student does not know any football players," said Sea. "To tell you the truth they take it for granted that the team is naturally separate, aloof if you will, with better things to do than live college life with college students.
"They're not considered regular students by any stretch of the imagination. I'm sure there are football players who like other things than football, beer and girls, but it's easy to see how one could get the impression.
"There's a great diversity of opinion. Some students admire them. Others resent the fact that students have their ways paid through college just for athletics, and the athletes might take the brunt of that feeling, even though it's not their idea."
Patti Chappell, a commuter involved in many campus organizations and an unofficial spokesperson for women's issues, says she does not know any athletes socially.
"I'm not in the beer-drinking crowd," Chappell said. "I do meet them in the health center (she works there) and I see them treated specially. I think they are given a lot of privileges. I don't think they go to lot of classes.
"I have talked to Mark Manges (quarterback) when he's come in here and he impressed me as being different from most football players. He's considerate, a real warm person, not on an ego trip. He says hello to me."
One hears over and over that the players seem to be absent from class, which creates resentment among other students. But are they really absent from class, or other activities, more than the average student?
Manges and backup quarterback Dick have admitted in previous interviews with The Post that their football concerns have resulted in less than perfect attendance in classes. (They are two of the most recognizable players on the team.
But Doug Harbert has walked into a conversation in class in which football players were being criticized and remained quiet.
"They don't know I'm a football player because I'm not big," said Harbert, "and that's fine with me."
The big and well-known players are so conspicuous in their absences much more than an average student that the tabulations may be unfair.
"I don't think they can single out jocks as people who don't get involved in activities. Nobody gets involved here," said defensive end Chip Garber. "But they know who we are, so they can single us out.
"This school is set up for commuters. There are 35,000 students here and only 11,000 live here. I think we're isolated, but I don't think it's because of the coaches. It's just the way this university is.
"The way the students act toward [WORD ILLEGIBLE], they would rather just leave us alone. Most of them stereo-type us as big, dumb jocks, and there has been some reason for that, but I think it's unfair.
"It's a misunderstanding. They don't know how to take us and we don't know how to take them. We really don't have the time to sit down and get it straightened out."
The players do not necessarily enjoy their isolation.
"I'm sure there's more to college life than what I've seen," Manges has said.
"I think it's worse for the freshmen," said White, a senior. "I really thought about giving it up - I know that went through a lot of people's minds.At first, I didn't go anywhere because I didn't want to go by myself. But then I found out there are concerts, and plays, and dance shows - so many things to do other than going out and having a beer."
The team has an odd relationship with fraternity row, one punctuated in years past by occasional fights.
"We're not outright enemies. But essentially there is a friction," said Joe Yost, the student body treasurer and a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilou fraternity. "There have been incidents in which physical damage was done, bannisters have been torn off walls, cars driven up on lawns.
"They come to our rush parties and mooch our free beer, even though they have no intention of rushing. But we understand that. They come across as basically a nice group."
Yost noted that there has been no trouble this year. Few players join fraternities, for the reason that they would not be able to live in the houses or join in many of the functions. Anyway, the team is their fraternity.
The Terrapins as a group are shabbily dressed, which is not overlooked by a student body that magnifies their every move from behind a telephoto lens. So the players are left to each other.
"The people we meet are football players," said Garber. "We're the only ones concerned about each other. Ten years from now, we'll still know each other. These other students will forget each other's names."