Last month, some devastating news hit the LIU Brooklyn men's basketball team: Forward Julian Boyd, the reigning NEC player of the year, and three teammates (Jamal Olasewere, Troy Joseph and C.J. Garner) were arrested and charged with assault for their participation in a campus brawl at a welcome back party for students on campus. All of a sudden, the reigning NEC champs -- who have made two straight NCAA tournament appearances -- appeared to be in dire jeopardy.
On Monday, the school announced, surely to the great relief of its fans, that the players' suspensions had been successfully appealed, and the players would be put on school probation and suspended two games apiece.
This seems like a reasonable outcome. Sure, the players were brawling with students, and there's little excuse for that. Still, it was fair to argue whether the any indefinite or season-ending suspension truly fit the crime. Here's the relevant breakdown from the afore-linked ESPN New York story:
The fight broke out during a welcome-back party for students at the Brooklyn campus. Initially, there was an altercation among members of the basketball and track teams. Then, a second fight broke out between basketball players and other students, including a DJ at the party. Police say the four players were arrested after five students filed complaints. Those students were not seriously injured.
Like I said: You can't have your basketball players fighting track team members, or regular students, without some form of punishment. That is exactly the wrong kind of image your basketball team is trying to project, both on campus and to the larger landscape. But a fight is a fight. It happens. The loss of an entire season would have felt unduly harsh, no?