Good Knight? — staff editorial

Recently, new information has come to light regarding the serious allegations brought against Indiana University basketball head coach Bobby Knight – allegations that, if true, warrant Knight’s termination.

Neil Reed, a former IU player, charged that Knight choked him in a practice three years ago. The CNN/Sports Illustrated network aired videotape of the incident that, until now, has not come to light. The images on this tape show a large man placing his hands upon a player’s throat in the manner described by Reed, but the faces of the individuals involved are not clear.

In light of this new information, serious questions have arisen regarding Knight’s behavior toward players on his team. These allegations of wrongdoing are not the first. Other players have come forward during the past few years with similar stories. While the video shows some inconsistencies with portions of Reed’s earlier accounts, enough evidence now exists to warrant a full-scale investigation, but the National Collegiate Athletic Association has taken no action.

In a system in which regulators dole out harsh fines and suspensions to athletes for relatively minor violations, Knight’s case, if the charges are true, is indicative of a double-standard on the part of the NCAA when dealing with coaches. Perhaps this apparent immunity to scrutiny stems from the fact that few sports figures command the unquestioning allegiance Knight enjoys at Indiana. However, if this latest round of allegations proves true, perhaps the time has arrived for IU and the NCAA to reevaluate Knight’s tenure as basketball coach.

But larger issues exist within this story. Here, a coach stands accused of choking a college athlete, a young man only 20 years old at the time of the incident and escaping without so much as an investigation for the past three years. The NCAA must demand accountability on the part of its coaches. Society cannot permit violence to be an acceptable solution to disagreements, whether those disputes are among husbands and wives, institutions and protestors or athletes and coaches.

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