Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Binghamton Making Right Moves

Last week, I called Binghamton on the carpet for running a basketball program that seemed to place more emphasis on winning than on developing athletes as students and citizens, after its best player was arrested on cocaine possession and distributio charges. So today, I give the university some "props" for doing some housecleaning. The school last week dismissed five other players from the team for conduct detrimental to the program. I understand coach Kevin Broadus was backed into a corner; the perception that he is running a renegade program was growing and moves had to be made. But the fact that they were made is a sign that Binghamton recognized its program was headed in the wrong direction and took drastic steps to address that.
Also deserving of mention in this is new SUNY schools chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who does not tolerate athletic programs that run afoul of the rules. Zimpher was president of the University of Cincinnati when coach Bob Huggins was pressured to resign after a DWI conviction and the arrests of several of his players. She sent a strong signal to Binghamton expected that action would be taken, and it has been.
That said, let me say it's a certainty that some other small athletic program will be dazzled by the allure of big-time basketball -- and the revenue that comes with it -- and look the other ways as rules are bent or broken in the quest to move up. And that's too bad, because more players, coaches and universities will be damaged along the way.
-- David Rubinstein

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