Three and out
Injury, academic opportunities end offensive lineman's career a season early
Posted on 06/23/2016 by
Repeated shoulder injuries and the opportunity to earn his MBA helped William Barns conclude that it was time to move on to life after football (photo by
The whispers had been around for weeks, and now offensive lineman William Barns has confirmed that because of an injury that required surgery and his chance to go to graduate school, his playing days at SMU are over.

Barns had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, a procedure that limited him significantly during the Ponies’ spring workouts, and after he finishes the last two classes required for his undergraduate degree next week, he will enroll in the full-time MBA program at SMU’s Cox School of Business. His academic achievement is significant: Barns will graduate with honors with a double undergraduate degree in mathematics and management science … and will earn his double degree in just three years at SMU since his arrival from Highland Park.

Barns acknowledged that he struggled with the decision, but said he was grateful for the support he got from the SMU coaching staff.

“Between my shoulder surgery and graduation, I have decided to move on,” Barns said. “I loved my time playing football at SMU, but think that my future lies in making the most out graduate school. I double majored in mathematics and management science. It was a very tough decision for me, but the coaches were extremely supportive and understanding, which was very helpful. They have made it clear that I am always welcome to come by and still be involved with the team, which is really cool.

The shoulder injury was not his first. Barns said he had played earlier injuries, but said the third time meant it was time to get the labrum repaired.

“I tore my labrum against East Carolina,” he said. “I had torn it a coupe times before, but it had never hurt enough to be a problem. Usually, it would hurt for a day or two and then the pain would go away. But when I hurt it against ECU, the pain just didn't go away and didn't go away, until we just decided to get surgery because there wasn't any way I could play with it. The labrum is completely healed now, but with the pain still hanging around (doctors) think there could be a problem with my capsule, or my scar tissue is just taking longer than normal to go away.”

Now, Barns said, his workout regimen is based upon regaining the health in his shoulder, and said the encouragement the coaches gave him to do what was best for his future underscored the “family” philosophy head coach Chad Morris and his staff embrace.

“The shoulder is definitely improving, but is still just not right,” he said. “I am able to work out, but still can't do any high impact Olympic lifts or heavy weights. I knew that it would hinder my (football) performance, and (the injury) will probably stick around for a long time, so that definitely played a part in the decision.

“I can't stress enough how understanding the coaches were with my decision. Obviously, they were pulling for me to keep playing, but (head) Coach (Chad) Morris and his staff really want what is best for all of their players as people, not just football players. I had multiple long, emotional talks with many of the coaches, and couldn't feel better about where I am at now, both situation-wise and concerning my relationship with them.”

Since their arrival at SMU, Morris and offensive line coach Dustin Fry have been intent upon retooling the Mustangs’ offensive line. The Mustangs have signed seven offensive linemen over the last two years, but the departure of Barns, whose versatility allowed him to play both guard and center, makes an already-young group even younger.

Previous Story Next Story
Former SMU receiver juggles bigger role in Dallas offense with fatherhood
Former SMU teammates celebrate graduation with climb into rarified air
Jump to Top