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Friday, February 25, 2005

John Chaney Suspended For Three Games

This time, Temple University acted.

They didn't let their Hall of Fame coach call the shots.

The Temple administration couldn't do that, especially with crosstown rival St. Joseph's fuming over what happened in a game between the two schools earlier this week.

Especially with the national media heaping scorn on their lenient self-imposed justice that they orchestrated within eighteen hours after Tuesday night's game ended.

Especially when their coach talked to the media on the day before the game about what he was planning for Tuesday (goon-like hoops if St. Joe's kept on setting the types of screens they were setting) and then, down only 6 with 15 minutes to go, put in a seldom-used senior strongman, Nehemiah Ingram, to commit mayhem against St. Joe's.

Especially when he kept the player in the game after the player received a technical for rough play.

Especially when the player committed three fouls after the technical and fouled out after only playing four minutes.

Especially when one of the victims of the hard fouls, St. Joe's F John Bryant, a starter, broke his forearm and is out for the year.

Especially since St. Joe's had rallied from a tough start of the season and was making a run at the Big Dance.

Especially when the Temple student section almost rioted.

It's still not enough.

Chaney shouldn't be eligible to coach again this year. Period.

He's only out for the remainder of Temple's regular-season games. He's back for the A-10 tournament and, if Temple acquits itself well enough, post-season play.

Meanwhile, John Bryant's season is over.

As for Ingram, he should be out for the year. St. Joe's has forgiven him, saying his coach put him up to it, but the Nuremberg defense shouldn't work. A senior should know that to go into the game to commit violence is dead wrong. Nehemiah Ingram should be gone. For the year. At his level of experience, he has to be held accountable for his actions.

Meanwhile, John Bryant's season is over.

After all, if a player gets into a fight he's kicked out of a game. If he gets into another fight after that, he's gone for the year. Given what Ingram did, he was lucky he didn't get kicked out of the St. Joe's game (he should have been). He's getting off easy, and he should thank his lucky stars.
And be furious with his coach.

Meanwhile, John Bryant's season is over.

That's the iniquity here, isn't it? The player who got hurt because of the cowardly acts of two men misses the rest of what could have been a fun stretch run for St. Joe's, and, meanwhile, the two perpetrators get off relatively easily.

And the Atlantic 10 Conference administration, particularly Commissioner Linda Bruno, should be replaced. Not only did Bruno tolerate a huge violation of any code of hoops coaching decency when she agreed to Temple's charade of a one-game self-suspension of Chaney, she also ignored St. Joe's request that Ingram be suspended. The reason the A-10 gave was that Ingram was just following orders, so he wasn't the culpable one. Huh? Since when is a college student, especially a senior, not responsible for his actions? Ingram should have known better. He should be gone for the year, even if it's his senior year. Even if he'll miss senior night. What type of message is the A-10 administration sending to college players -- that's it's okay to do something if your coach says so? What kind of leadership is that? If I'm Linda Bruno, I'm getting my resume out on the street, because if I'm the St. Joe's administration and head coach Phil Martelli, I want her out of her job. Starting tomorrow.

To be clear, I remain a fan of John Chaney, although my admiration of him has dropped quite a bit since what happened Tuesday night (I will not disrespect his entire body of work because of this deplorable incident, because I think that wouldn't be fair either). No one should be above the rules, the law, the code that says as a leader of young men you never instruct a player to hurt another team's player, though. John Chaney should be on an absolute zero-tolerance policy, and he'd be lucky to get that.

Meanwhile, John Bryant has a broken forearm. The St. Joe's kids, a great group, now lose a solid contributor to their program. Their chances to go deep into the post-season are a little more in doubt than they were Tuesday at tip-off.

At least the Temple administration acted more strongly than the farce they orchestrated on Wednesday morning.

But it's still not enough.

Not that the Atlantic-10 administration would know the difference.


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