EUGENE, Ore. – It's all the buzz about the University of Oregon campus: a string of arrests, assaults, and theft accusations involving student football players.
"It's unfortunate that our athletes act that way so they can give everyone else a bad name," says student Mark Costigan.
All this attention has some students concerned about the reputation of the University.
"It's not looking good for athlete's right now," adds student Kevin Strachen.
Kelli Matthews, an instructor of public relations at the U of O, would not comment specifically about the University's current situation.
However, Matthews did have this to say: "It's certainly a crisis, and it's certainly a reputation challenge." She told KVAL News that any organization facing a public challenge should stay in front of a story, be transparent and have a plan.
"My mantra for crisis situations is always tell it now, tell it fast, and tell them what you're going to do about it," she says. "If you don't tell your story, other people will tell your story for you."
That's what seems to be happening on Web sites like Twitter and Facebook. The Internet is filled with discussions about U of O's football player woes, and opinions about what the school needs to do.
Wednesday, athletic director Mike Bellotti and head football coach Chip Kelly condemned any behavior that does not meet University standards. Thursday, the Athletic Department would not comment further.
"I think it's human nature to not want to talk about it and that it will just blow over," says Matthews when asked why an organization might not want to speak to the media. "I think that there's always something that you can say and 'no comment' is never appropriate."
Matthews says with good standing relationships and with some work, an organization like the University of Oregon can come out on top.
But could the actions of a handful of people tarnish an image forever?
"The only time this would be true is if an organization is just not willing to do the right thing," says Matthews. "People are forgiving if you're open and honest."