First thing. If Babcock could have handled this any worse, I don't know who could have. Someone needs to find his PR person and have them go back to school. The appropriate reaction should have been:
a) Get on the phone to the coaching staff, get an explanation for what the heck was going on, and where this came from.
b) Remind the coaching staff exactly who the boss actually really is, and who exactly is signing the paychecks.
c) Confirm the details, and then inform the coaches that they are to make themselves available for a short notice news conference where they will explain that this fine idea was just one of many possible disciplinary measures that was discussed, and that it was important to remember that Tech has been hit with several student athlete behavior issues over the last five years that have cost the team greatly. And then close the conference with a statement that there are no fines or fine system being actively considered, the Athletic Director has not authorized any such disciplinary method, and any further inquiries need to be made to his office.
>>> This communication and instruction should have been done in private, professionally, and personally
d) Then Babcock needed to address the issue head on without seeming to undercut or embarrass his coaching staff. There are even actions that could have been taken and a tact taken that could have defused the situation by throwing the question back to the self-righteous and artificially indignant reporters. "What would you recommend doing to help improve discipline for players?"
Frankly, I am 56, old school, and have seen too many coddled athletes destroy their lives by being perpetually indulged just because they have been given physical gifts. Though I don't think that fines are a viable solution per se, it's hard to see a kid complain when he's sporting thousands of dollars in tattoos and bling.
The optics are poor, the reaction was not good, and the entire thing is a tempest in a teapot. It's something to say during a boring Summer. Maybe it should be a prime case for that new Public Relations Major the Department of Communcation is sporting.
This whole thing was dumb and clumsy. The coaches goofed by not going to the AD a long time ago. The AD goofed by seemingly throwing the coaching staff under the bus, and this whole thing is a hot mess because of a tragic lack of perspective.
Shame on everyone.
(This is just the opinion of the author - not Gobbler Country, or it's publishers)