Saturday, December 30, 2006


Definitely not in short supply today.

First there's the foolishness that led to the pot being in KMac's car in the first place. I don't want ND players using pot, especially during the season, but as hypocritical as this might sound, I understand how it's the "drug of choice" of basketball players in general and, like alcohol, realize there's going to be some use whether I like it or not. So it amends to not wanting pot use to affect the players' lives or the team's performance, and by being indiscreet with the materials in the car, KMac has violated that edict.

Next there's the foolishness that led to some of the reactions (since deleted) on The Pit. Draconian down-from-the-mountain crap isn't the way to go here either. You can be disappointed in the young man's choices without being a dick about it. Fire-and-brimstone punishment might make you feel a little more superior than all the rest, but it does very little for the young man wearing the Fighting Irish uniform.

Will the foolishness continue? That remains to be seen.

It certainly won't be foolish to punish the young man, although there's potential foolishness in the details of that punishment. As I said, I have a low tolerance for players who disrupt the team with bad choices. KMac did something dumb, and he's going to (and should) be punished for it regardless of what it means for the season. It blows that his teammates will suffer, but that's the point of being a team -- what you do affects everyone else, and what everyone else does affects you. But there's punishment that teaches a lesson to the punished and there's punishment that looks or feels good for the punisher. I want plenty of the former and none of the latter.

I think it would be foolish to make more of this than deserves to be made. On the grand scale of crime, I put things like a first-time possession charge pretty low on the totem pole. It doesn't indicate a pattern of behavior (although it can be used later to establish one if the behavior repeats), and, unlike assaulting a kid on a basketball court or driving under the influence, doesn't involve hurting another person either physically, psychologically or emotionally. It certainly doesn't fall under the purview of the NCAA rulebook. ND has a strong track record expecting accountability for its athletes both on and off the court, so I don't doubt they'll do their due diligence.

On The Pit, Kayo asked if we were King of ND, what we would do in response to KMac's situation. If my uneasy head wore the crown, I'd stop the foolishness this way.

First, I'd allow him to remain in school. Suspending him for a semester and putting his academic progress off track doesn't accomplish anything.

Second, I'd suspend him from playing or practicing with the team for one month. He could still work out with them or do whatever training table or other related activities he usually does with his teammates, but nothing on the court. I'd even go so far as to keep him off the bench during games for that month.

Third and finally, I'd require 100 hours of community service, to be completed before the start of the Fall 2007 semester. I'm guessing there are drug treatment centers in the greater South Bend metro area that could use some help.

I'd also tell him since this is a first offense and he has a clean record, he's getting off light. A second example of foolishness would result in the sky falling down on him.

Likewise, his teammates would be informed KMac had used up their one mulligan for the season and they should consider themselves on notice. Foolish behavior on their part would put them right underneath that falling sky as well.

Good seasons at ND have been affected by foolishness before. In 1962-63, the team started 11-3 before Ron Reed and Larry Sheffield didn't make grades, and the team barely snuck into the NCAA tournament. Last season on the gridiron, the Irish missed Rashon Powers-Neal after his suspension for a DUI charge.

We'll see how this Irish team reacts. Hopefully they can still make it a magical one.

I'm going to leave the comments open here, and invite response on The Pit as well. But there's one type of comment I won't even bother approving, so you shouldn't bother making it:

"You ripped on Troy Smith for his character issues, and now you're saying it's no big deal for McAlarney."

Yes, I did. I did so because (a) Smith physically assaulted someone and took booster money, which represents (as I said above) both a higher-echelon crime and an NCAA violation, and (b) the reason for the comments was Smith's being in contention for an award that has a character component. If later in his career, KMac is up for a national award and his primary competitor has a better record in this area, I'll point out the difference just as I did with Smith and Quinn.



Anonymous ND Grad '04 said...

Just a comment about the community service statement....Community service should never be used as a punishment, especially at a place like Notre Dame, where 90% of the student body participates in some sort of community service. Also, it is EXPECTED that as a student-athlete at ND, you WILL participate in various service activities throughout the year. I know this because I worked closely with various athletic teams during my time at ND.

Thus, community service is something that is done because it is expected and is the right thing to do, and should never be given as some sort of punishment.

12/31/2006 03:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There should be no question of a suspension here. It is made explicitly clear to ALL ND student-athletes that there is a ZERO-TOLERANCE policy on these types of things. That's why you didn't see Powers-Neal play after the DUI. ND's policy on drugs is MUCH MUCH more severe. Here is what Page 94 of the 2006-2007 version of du Lac(student handbook) says:

6. Possession, use or misuse of any controlled substance,including, but not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines and depressants, is a serious violation. Students who possess, use or misuse such substances shall be subject to disciplinary suspension or permanent dismissal. Providing for others, by sale or otherwise, marijuana or any other controlled substance, is a serious violation which shall result in disciplinary suspension or permanent dismissal. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious violation of University policy.

Now, here is what it says about alcohol...

"students may be subject to disciplinary action for underage consumption, possession or transportation of alcoholic beverages."

Bottom line: If Powers-Neal didn't play after the DUI, KMac certainly isn't going to play after a marijuana arrest.

12/31/2006 03:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I know students that had a clean record and never got in trouble before, but had been found with pot and were suspended for a semester, I think Kmac should suffer the same consequence. I do not think we should start changing the nd policy with an athlete. That would mean that we are about athletics only, and I know that has not been true. Sorry Kmac, but mistakes happen and you have to pay for them. If we become lenient on pot use among basketball players we will definately suffer many more underperforming seasons as we have in the recent past. Pot is a problem that has plagued previous teams and I hope this would set an example for this team. That being said, Kmac should also have a second chance in the fall. Everyone makes mistakes at some point in their career and to not give him a second chance would also look bad on ND.

12/31/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Triple Domer said...

Your analysis of the situation seems right on to me. A fair punishment is in order, but the death penalty, i.e. overreacting, would, obviously, be uncalled for.

12/31/2006 07:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suspend for the rest of the season

12/31/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are putting "Academically Ineligible" in the category of "Foolishness" then I plead guilty as charged. But if you are putting "Academically Ineligible" in the same category as a "D.U.I." and "Illegal Possession of a Controlled Substance", which sounds like you are, then you are not nearly as intelligent as you think you are. Sheff and I were certainly wrong for not keeping our grades up, and by the way it happened to me twice, and it has happened to other athletes at Notre Dame as well. But after two years in the N.B.A. and seventeen years in Major League Baseball I have never had a D.U.I. and I have never been arrested for any illegal substance use or possession. Attacking someone's ineligibility is an attack on his study habits in and out of the classroom. Attacking someone's use of alcohol and or substance abuse is an attack on his character. Two entirely different subjects.
Ron Reed Notre Dame Basketball 1961-1965

12/31/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger El Kabong said...

Let me be clear -- I don't equate academic issues with drug issues. They're not even in the same universe, let alone the same ballpark.

I brought up that previous season to illustrate another time when a bad off-court decision (i.e. the decision not to study and keep up grades) had affected the progress of a season on the court. That was the only comparison I meant to make, and I obviously didn't put a fine enough point on it.

In any event, I'm sorry.

12/31/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't want ND players using pot, especially during the basketball season" especially during the bball season????? use of an illegal drug is NEVER acceptable... I think you better look at the type of students and student-athletes ND recruits. People make mistakes, but your comment is plain stupid


12/31/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To nd grad '04: You wonder why ND has a 90% community service statistic? It is because when someone gets in trouble then the administration makes you pay a fine, but you could essentially "pay" it off doing community service, $5 an hour. I know from experience so do not act like ND is above a community service punishment. That 90% statistic is so flawed it makes me laugh. It is funny how the school would make you think that everyone there does community service on their own; that is far from the truth.

12/31/2006 09:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like it or not, athletes are in the pubilc eye and should be held to a higher standard of conduct - especially at ND. My 5 yr. old son has attended all of the B-ball games with me this year and I thank the Big Guy Above that he doesn't know enough to ask why KM is not on the floor. I love the Irish, but he should be out for the season. Guilty or not, and as a lawyer I can allready envision the Motion to Supress to be filed in court, he should be punished internally and irrespective of any criminal prosecution or punnishment. It sucks for KM, for MB, for ND, and for the team as a whole. But if you are on scholarship then keep away from the drugs out of respect for everyone else, if for no other reason. I don't hate KM, but can't condone his choices. - SPH-ND'90

12/31/2006 11:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The shame is here that KMac is so much needed going into the Big East season. So, maybe his best punishment is to sit out the rest of the season and then have to look his teammates in the face if the consequences of his actions cost the Irish a great season in the Big East. I know that kids have to have an outlet, but they need to pay the man when they do something irresponsible. What a shame KMac, you made a huge mistake.

1/01/2007 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not saying drugs or drinking and driving is ok, but this is a little too much. Everybody in there life time has done something that they regret and if you haven't, congratulations you are the first person I know of that is perfect. The kid made a mistake he hasn't assaulted anyone or stolen anything. Yes I agree he should be punished but I feel a suspension for the season is too much. I am sure he knows he screwed up and I am also sure that there is no one writing any of these that feel even half of the pain that he is right now. We all love ND that’s why we are on here, so instead of sending KMAC to the penitentiary let's get behind him; maybe he needs that instead of your criticism.

1/02/2007 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Count me among the last to defend Troy Smith, but can you remind what "character component" you were referring to?

1/02/2007 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Heisman lists character as one of the key criteria for chosing a winner.

1/03/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ND gets bad press for considering itself morally above other programs. Time to prove that we are, and that we don't compromise our values out of expediency. Athletes are already priveleged - they get to attend Notre Dame for free and have a shot at a multi-million dollar career to boot. All right, don't expel the kid for a first offense, but remember he made a conscious decision to violate both university policy and the law. He's old enough to know better. Out for the season.

1/03/2007 03:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notre Dame gets bad press if they sneeze wrong. Why does ND have to prove to anybody that their better than any other school? You're saying we are better than other schools because we will suspend someone for the year instead of 10 games. Why does that make us any better? Athletes ARE privileged, and do go to school for free but for good reason. How much money do you suppose ND athletics brings to the university, that's why they go for free. I guess you can say they earn there tuition. So sure, let's prove to everybody that were better than they are. Castrate him; that will do the trick. Ease up people.

1/05/2007 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To nd grad '04: You wonder why ND has a 90% community service statistic? It is because when someone gets in trouble then the administration makes you pay a fine, but you could essentially "pay" it off doing community service, $5 an hour.

Uh, in order for your fantasy to be true, it would mean the vast majority of ND students are in enough trouble that they need to plead down to community service.

That is so absurd as to be impossible.

But hey, keep trying...

1/06/2007 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am no fan of the Du Lac code of conduct, but as a former ROTC cadet and military officer, I have a healthy respect for rules and consequences. I broke the rules plenty in college (even got booted from the band for drinking), but I always consiously weighed the risk. As much as I wanted to light up a joint with my roomates in college, I *never* did (not once) becuase the potential consequences were something I didn't want to live with. I had a full-ride scholarship and didn't want to lose it. It sucks that this guy is so important to the team, but I just don't see how ND could possibly *not* suspend him for the semester if that is the typical course of action for other students. He knew the potential consequences - now he needs to be held accountable. I can't believe that anybody (especially ND students/grad) can rationally argue otherwise.

1/06/2007 06:15:00 PM  

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