I found the Xavier vs Cincinnati incident very disturbing but not so much because of the fight itself. What disturbed me the most was how this fight started and how it was commented on and treated afterwards by some involved.
This was not a fight borne out of heat-of-battle conflict, it was not a case of a fight emerging from physical contact occuring during the course of a play. It was pre-calculated and easy to see coming. This was a fight along the lines of the 1972 Ohio State vs Minnesota brawl instigated on a pre-mediatated cheap shot by Corky Taylor during a dead-ball.
The fight merely served to shine a glaring light on the real issues that need to be dealt with. The real issue is the actions by those charged with leading college athletics are not always living up to their stated goals and words, leaving players ill equipped to deal with pressures and expectations of being the faces and talent of college athletics. A college athletics landscape that has moved beyond being about spirited competition and school pride to being a high revenue sports entertainment empire. This belief is evidenced by the following points:
- This is Tu Holloway’s fourth in year in the Xavier basketball program and Mark Lyon’s third. It is sad that during this period at Xavier they have learned so well the many life skills that NCAA and college administrators and coaches espouse that some 20 to 30 minutes after an embarassing incident, after they have had the opportunity to calm down, be talked to by their coaches, teamates and administrators they emerge to a press conference and talk about this being what you get, about being disrespected and zipping people up. Those comments reveal a total lack of perspective and remorse. Those comments prove what Mick Cronin spoke so eloquently about during his post-game press conference a lack of appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity they are provided. It also speaks to a disturbing sense of entitlement very well written about in this blog post by Mike Procopio http://www.hoopconsultants.com/2011/12/my-thoughts-on-ate-xavier-cincinnati-brawl/
The cause of the fight is equally disturbing and has many culpable parties but here a few thought particularly disappointed me.
- Lyons and Holloway running their mouths to the Cincinnati sideline throughout the game without intervention by Xavier coaches and the game officials.
- Xaviers starters still be on the floor with the game decided, emotions high and running their mouths. Come on Coach Mack don’t tell me you were oblivious to the fact your players were trying to show up the other team and that it was getting potential explosive.
- The adminstrators of college athletics at these universities and conferences for their decisions on the suspensions after the fact. In my opinion the announced punishments feed into the belief that revenue sports are more important than the mission and integrity of the college and do very little to teach a meaningful lesson to any involved. However, it does remind us that protecting the future revenue streams by maintaining top basketball talent on the floor is very important to the colleges and conferences.
What I believe needs to be done long-term would need more space than this blog but I believe it starts with meeting the daily defining moments as outlined in this earlier blog post https://1010sport.com/2011/11/09/defining-moment/ .