Bearcats Breakfast 12.13.11

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Interesting day at UC on Monday. For the second time in three days, I felt those paying attention entered with one opinion and left with another because of the way the university handled a situation.

The first being Cronin's press conference following the game and the second being the transparency and genuine nature of the apology and suspension explanations.

If you don't believe me, give a read to Paul Daugherty this morning. Listen, if you can turn Doc, you made an impression. He writes about how he entered Monday's conference expecting to write a rip job and left feeling everyone needs to stop judging and move on.

That was the same message behind my column written about Yancy Gates yesterday. Here is the link. It's really time for everyone to stop standing on their high horse and burying those involved. Let's move forward.

Let's eat...

--- The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy has been defending the suspension lengths the last few days and brought up a precedent I hadn't really thought about. He mentioned the Knicks-Nuggets brawl that Carmelo Anthony found himself in the middle of in 2006. He threw punches and was the face in the middle of the whole mess. He was suspended for 15 games by the league -- 18 percent of the season.

The six games levied against Cheikh Mbodj, Gates and Octavius Ellis, 19 percent of the season.

For an incident with little precedence that is close.

Those pointing to the LaGarette Blount sucker-punch against Boise State as precedence, Whit Babcock explained clearly what that wouldn't be the case. Here were his comments yesterday on that comparison.

"An equivalent of LeGarrette Blount would have been in the handshake line, that he punched him," Babcock said. "We did discuss that. I looked at that, but I just didn't feel like those two instances were remarkably similar there. I believe, as I recall, LeGarrette Blount, unprovoked, punched him. We felt like this was a little bit different."

--- Babcock talked about
asking for different opinions on what the punishment should be from those all around the conference and college basketball. He said those answers received were lower than the actual suspensions handed down.

Babcock and President Williams came up with the suspensions numbers after originally discussing it with Cronin.

"The difficult thing in the process was there was no real road map for it, so we wanted to do our due diligence. We tried to find some precedent. We spent some time on the phone with the BIG EAST Conference, finding out in all the years of BIG EAST basketball, if there was something we could compare to. We talked to the head official of the BIG EAST that's been there since the beginning. He gave us some guidance and also expressed that in four years here; he never had any trouble with Yancy Gates - with any of his crews. So, we took that into consideration. We talked to other athletic directors and coaches. We really tried to do our due diligence. We considered every option. We looked at everything from the one game that the NCAA mandated a suspension to dismissing guys for the season. The people in the industry we talked to - again, there was no road map or precedent for this - the numbers that were coming back to us were lower than we came up with."

--- Everyone seems to be
taking the suspension lengths so personally. I understand this is a hot-button topic, by why are people so outraged in either direction. As I mentioned in my column yesterday, is there a magic number that would quench your thirst for justice? It's not like the actions were condoned or zero punishments given. My opinion.

--- As far as the accusation that suspensions shouldn't start until conference play, I can only counter by saying, I don't know how you send those guys back out on the floor four days after that incident. You just can't do that. As Cronin said repeatedly on Saturday, they have to earn that right to put the jersey back on.

--- A few extra points
were made about what these players will be doing during the suspension, according to Cronin and Babcock: Players will undergo anger management counseling, take part in community service around Cincinnati and will even make an apology to student government to officially express regret to the students.

--- Again, if you want to watch or read all of the press conference statements, here is the link.

--- Now the conversation turns to the future of the Crosstown Shootout. Both schools had their hands full the past 48 hours dealing with the fallout of this incident, now they have to figure out how to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Babcock made it clear no decision has been made about the future of the rivalry at this point, but it will be discussed with Xavier AD Mike Bobinski and they'll decide on how to move forward.

The UC AD did offer this:

"There has been no decision on the game, whether it's our home game or a neutral site or whether we discontinue the series. I've talked to Mike Bobinski. If it does continue, there's a lot of work that needs to be done on the front end to change the culture of that game. It's not a decision that we take lightly and quite frankly, both Mike and I there were some other more important issues to get to before that. But we're well aware that's a discussion that needs to take place."

Next year would be the 80th edition of one of the greatest sporting events this city offers. Eighty years. As a college hoops guy myself, the shootout is my favorite sporting event every year. I'm not alone in this city.

As Cronin said, it would be a shame if these two teams couldn't play a basketball game without it coming to this. Especially with this example to follow.  What message would it send about Cincinnati and this community if both sides decided that there wasn't enough discipline on either side to create a safe atmosphere? No way is that true. These are not two out-of-control universities, teams or fan bases.

Concerted efforts to promote more sportsmanship before, during and after would be a necessary step. Regardless of what the decision, everyone can agree, killing one of the great traditions this city owns would be sad.

Cronin had one final comment on that Monday: "I think I was pretty clear on how I feel about the game. If it can't be played the right way, it doesn't need to be played, whether it's next year or forever. Now, you'll have to understand that the universities will probably make that decision. I'm going to support my university fully."

--- Chad Brendel makes good points in his pitch to postpone the series.

--- The Atlantic-10 says their officials did nothing wrong. Of course, they were only viewing the video and couldn't hear the constant trash talk and hostile atmosphere created on the court. Both coaches have stated their opinions on this matter, mine is certainly not needed.

--- Kimball Perry of
the Enquirer on the possibility of prosecution.

--- You want some real
talk about the Shootout past, present and future -- read Mo Egger's' blog post today.

--- For the 830th time in the history
of this blog, I'll repeat that Dana O'Neil is the best college basketball writer in the country. She proves it again as she writes about the guts of UC making their players face the music unscripted.

--- The job of repairing
the team's image won't be an easy one. This from Bill Koch.

--- Of course, Sean Miller found his way into the middle of this. Not realizing how hot the water was, so he jumped back out Monday.

--- If there is any good news to
come out of this, it makes rivalry games from across the country be more aware of the environments they bring to the court. The Richmond Times-Dispatch looked at VCU-Richmond.

--- Randomness...

--- The spin from the Tampa Tribune mentions that they laid off 165 people at their newspaper, for 16 percent of the work force but had the gall to open by pointing out they still have 300 "content-generators" left. Yeah, who will all be doing 2x the amount of work for the same pay. And no apology or regert mentioned for the families who lost their income.

I'll say it again, leaving newspapers was the best career decision I've ever made.

--- A butter shortage! I just found a reason to avoid Norway.

--- David Price had an interesting day.

--- Love this list of 11 Christmas songs that never took off, from Mental Floss. Hard to figure why "Don't Shoot Me Santa," by The Killers never made the heavy rotation at Dillards.

--- My Dan Hoard Link of the Day: RGIII on Letterman for the Top Ten List two days after winning the Heisman.

--- Leave Hammer alone already!

--- Seeing that list of Christmas Songs
has me thinking about one of my favorites that's a bit off the beaten path. Christmas in Hollis by Run DMC always makes me smile.

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