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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

John Chaney Suspends Himself -- Again!

First, he suspended himself for one game because of what happened in the Temple-St. Joe's game two weeks ago.

His conference, the Atlantic 10, and its commissioner, Linda Bruno, thought that was okay.

Meanwhile, the career of St. Joe's senior, John Bryant, is over.

Next, his school suspended him for the remainder of the regular season.

His conference, the Atlantic 10, and its commissioner, Linda Bruno, presumably thought that was okay, too. All along, the A-10 and its commissioner seemingly have been okay with the self-discipline that either Temple or its coach have been meting out.

The hue and cry here was that the Temple administration took too long to act and that this punishment wasn't fair because Bryant would be missing the A-10 playoffs but Chaney would not be. And neither would the Temple player who broke Bryant's arm, Nehemiah Ingram.

So yesterday Chaney suspended himself again, this time for the Atlantic 10 tournament, because he said he didn't think it fair for him to participate if John Bryant couldn't. He also repeated his profuse apologies on the subject. But he'll still be at practice during this time, and he'll be eligible to coach the Owls if they somehow make it to the NCAA Tournament or get a berth in the NIT.

It's still not enough. There should be no more basketball for John Chaney this year. Not at practice, and, most certainly, not in any post-season action. No Big Dance, no NIT, nothing.

The Atlantic 10, both its administration and its leadership, has continued to toss airballs here. If I were a coach in that league, I would be very concerned about the leadership of the conference and, especially, its commissioner, Linda Bruno.

Because Bruno sat rather idly by and let the whole disciplinary process develop without taking a lead. The last time we checked, commissioners, presidents, captains, chief executive officers -- all of them -- are supposed to take stands. Sometimes those stands are unpopular.

Linda Bruno has failed miserably.

First, she let the entire A-10 situation become a media circus and spiral almost out of control because she failed to exercise her authority. While it's admirable for a school to activate its own disciplinary process to address a problem, it's less admirable when the initial reaction fails (or was about as accurate as a Nehemiah Ingram free-throw attempt). Which is what happened here, and then Linda Bruno had no meaningful response.

Second, she has missed the boat entirely on Ingram, the player who Chaney sent into the game to commit hard fouls and who fouled out in four minutes. His season should be over. Bruno continues to chalk up Ingram's conduct to the never respected bromide of "he was following orders" and has accepted his apology as his official act of contrition. Meanwhile, the player he injured, John Bryant, is out for the year. Where is the leadership in that decision? Since when are college seniors not responsible for their actions?

Here is the link to a statement Linda Bruno issued on Friday February 25 after Chaney II (that is, the second of the third installment in John Chaney's suspensions, whether self-designated or university-imposed). There are a few interesting things about the statement. If you go to, you aren't taken immediately to the statement, but to the conference's hype about its post-season women's hoops tournament (you have to scroll down for a very small-typed link that simply says "Linda Bruno Statement"). More importantly than that, at the end of the statement Bruno states that any further behavior by Chaney will have "severe consequences."

For most people, that would mean that the conference will suspend the coach for a long time, perhaps forever, if Mt. Chaney erupts again. But with the Atlantic 10, you can't be so sure, can you?

Linda Bruno was quoted last night as saying that the latest round in The John Chaney Suspension Trilogy will remove any distraction from the Atlantic 10 tournament (referring to the potential for a St. Joe's-Temple final). I think she's wrong on that point too.

Because by her lack of leadership -- both with respect to Coach Chaney and his player -- she's helped created a distraction that will not go away for a long time.

In the process, Temple President David Adamany, A.D. Bill Bradshaw and Bruno have left us all wondering whether a coach is more important than his players, his school and his conference. That's a result that should bother everyone involved, from the graduate student in chemistry to the parents of kids who go to the school to alumni to players on any athletic team. Because, in Temple's case, the right answer to the question isn't obvious to the leadership of Temple and its conference.

John Chaney should not be in the gym until after the NCAA Tournament has concluded.


Neither should Linda Bruno.


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Hope that helps

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10:04 AM  

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