All suspensions are not created equal. All coaches do not avert their eyes from bad behavior if it might cost them in big games. All those who assume Rick Pitino will reinstate Chane Behanan before the Dec. 28 Louisville-Kentucky game are likely too optimistic or, perhaps, overly cynical.
The prodigal forward has not had his wrist slapped. Behanan has been suspended from the basketball team and evicted from his residence hall. Of the 12 specified sanctions that can be imposed for violations of the University of Louisville’s Code of Student Conduct, Behanan has been hit with at least two. And these are body blows, not love taps.
Pitino has suspended players before, but the residence hall suspension is so rare that Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein said he could not recall a previous basketball player being so penalized.
Though it would be naive to underestimate the influence of a Hall of Fame coach and his resourceful boss, it is not entirely clear who has jurisdiction here.
Privacy issues prevent the university from treating student disciplinary cases with transparency. Thus we still don’t know exactly what Behanan did to earn his punishment or precisely how that punishment was determined. Mark Hebert, Louisville’s director of media relations, said Sunday privacy policies prevent him from confirming whether Behanan’s discipline had been imposed as an internal matter of the athletic department or on the authority of Dr. Thomas Jackson Jr., The university’s vice president for student affairs.
The university recognizes Jackson or his designee as “the final authority in defining and interpreting the Code of Student Conduct and conduct procedures.” Because Behanan’s penalty includes the residence hall suspension — item G on the list of Code of Conduct sanctions — numerous campus heavyweights may have weighed in.
Coaches generally prefer to keep a close eye on players they are punishing. You wouldn’t normally kick a player out of the athletic dorm if your goal was to get him back in time for a specific game. You would do so to be consistent with how Louisville handles similar cases.
Maybe Chane Behanan is reinstated in time for the Kentucky game. And maybe the better question is not when, but if.
Sullivan also writes for the (Louisville) Courier-Journal.
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