Jason Whitlock and Paul Daugherty are two of my favorite reads. Formerly of the Kansas City Star, Jason now writes for Fox Sports. Paul writes for the Cincinnati Enquirer and SI.com. Each has a very different take on the aftermath of that Cincinnati-Xavier Crosstown Punch-Out over the weekend.
Here are excerpts from their columns. Tell me what you think.
Truthfully, I was going to do that here. R-r-r-ip. I had the chainsaw gassed up and ready to go.
Then I went to UC on Monday. I listened to Gates and his three suspended mates. I listened to Mick Cronin, so honorable after the game Saturday, and new athletic director Whit Babcock. I talked to Mike Bobinski, Xavier’s athletic director and a very decent man. And I changed my mind.
I still think all the players suspended got off easy. It would have been a shame had Gates missed the rest of his senior year. I wouldn’t have argued against it. Holloway is a very good player who, along with lots of athletes now, apparently owns a highly misguided definition of “toughness” and what it means to be “respected.”
Contrast that with what Jason wrote on Monday.
Xavier head coach Chris Mack deserved the longest suspension. Instead, he’ll parlay Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons into a major-college job and a fat pay raise.
If you expected Mack or Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin to use Saturday’s embarrassing, game-ending Xavier-Cincinnati basketbrawl as a teaching tool for their players, you don’t understand modern-day, major-college athletics.
Coaches are no longer required to pretend they’re interested in “molding” young men. It’s just win, baby, and move on to your next job and/or contract extension.
Who has the better take?
Call me cynical, but I side with Whitlock. The suspensions handed out by Cincinnati and Xavier were woefully inadequate. Each passing day seems to be just another public relations strategy to keep the players time away from the floor as short as possible.
And that Mack and Cronin have escaped scrutiny or much criticism is baffling. Yes, the refs should have done a better job of controlling matters on Saturday, but the coaches are ultimately responsible for their teams and their players, especially when they are on the floor right in front of them.
I asked the question on twitter Sunday and I’ll ask it again: What if a regular student, representing the University of Cincinnati or Xavier University, and become involved in a fight and punched someone out at a function? What would happen to that student?
There is a terrible double standard here, driven by money. It’s always about money. And it’s hard not to believe that Cincinnati and Xavier’s lenient actions aren’t driven by the pursuit of the all-mighty dollar.
On that score, I was heartened to see the stance taken by UK’s new president, Eli Capilouto, that he would not support state funding for a Rupp Arena renovation, that the money should be used for rebuilding the university’s infrastructure. As the parent of a UK graduate and the parent of one currently in UK, I’d say that’s long overdue.
On the other hand, I was appalled to read former Xavier coach Sean Miller’s comments about Saturday’s fight.
It’s time to stop being enablers.
What’s your take?