Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Return of the Native

You always like it when good things happen to good people. So naturally, I'm very happy Kyle McAlarney will be returning to ND in the summer.

This tells me one or more of a couple things happened in the past 48 hours:
  • KMac was able to look past the hurt and aggravation of the situation and make a mature, reasoned decision. He likes his coach, he likes his teammates. Why rush into a new situation requiring you to rebuild all those relationships?

  • Notre Dame managed to execute some original thinking in an extremely expeditious manner, and altered the punishment towards reasonableness enough to make things more palatable for this young man. Yes, people can take summer classes at ND as "unenrolled students", but remember that students under the kind of "suspension" that KMac is are banned from campus for its duration. So if he's going to be taking summer classes, something changed.

This was a bad situation on all sides. KMac did something stupid, and ND put its foot in it with an over-reactive punishment. That both sides could pull themselves back from the edge and not allow pride or intransigence to make the situation worse probably is the best possible outcome.

Having said that, both sides have some work to do.

This all started with KMac getting caught with marijuana. I'm among those who view marijuana use as a Not Good Thing, and my strong preference would be for him to look at this situation as a potential life lesson for him. This created a major inconvenience in his life, and could have been more costly for him. Assuming he was the one using the weed at some point that day, he needs to ask himself: was it worth all this?

That Notre Dame managed a partial recovery from their gaffe doesn't absolve them from the self-evaluation required to make sure it never happens again. I can understand a strong stance against controlled substances, but a policy of harsh punishments for good-citizen first-time offenders who are not even accused of use doesn't make a lot of sense to me, particularly when a student can drive while drunk and not be banished from campus. I also have a hard time with a system of justice where some offenders avoid ResLife review altogether while others cannot. Notre Dame needs to convene whatever kind of group it convenes for this sort of thing and review duLac from stem to stern to make sure these kinds of inconsistencies are ironed out.

This is a learning moment for both KMac and ND. If they take advantage of it, they'll be better for it.

And lest we forget, kudos to Mike Brey and KMac's teammates for stepping into the breach and helping to work towards a solution. This is just another example of the strong chemistry and camaraderie this squad has shown, which has gone a long way towards the unexpected positive results this season. Regardless of what you may think of coaching decisions, Mike Brey has shown once again he understands ND and what makes the ND family work, and is willing to put that into practice even in the face of the place's questionable decisions.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice summary.

This was a a very mature decision made by McAlarney. I don't think that he will regret it once the pain of the draconian punishment subsides.

I am glad that ND took a step back and realized that allowing him into the summer session was the right thing to do.

I also give Brey a lot of credit for mediating a brutal situation. He is doing an excellent job this year on and off the court.

1/27/2007 05:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the reports I've read, including the one to which your post links, ND has not changed it's stance at all. McAlarney still has to apply for re-admittance to the university after the Spring semester ends.

I'm glad McAlarney wants to come back but I don't think ND has done anything to redeem the overly harsh punishment it imposed.

1/28/2007 03:03:00 AM  
Blogger El Kabong said...

According to people both at ND and in KMac's family, the original punishment prohibited a return to ND prior to the Fall session.

1/28/2007 07:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that there is an inconsistency and heavy handed justice handed out in the matter when any infraction ends up in Res Life vs the in house situation of the dorms. Alumni need to know that this kind of justice is happening to all students at ND and they need to know the risk inherent in sending your son or daughter to ND as long as Kirk is head of Res Life and he can set the tone.

1/28/2007 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see the problem with McAlarney's punishment. He agreed to the rules of Du Lac when he first arrived on campus. He broke an explicit rule in this case and, like many other students this year, he was punished. To do otherwise would be to give him preferential treatment because he is an athlete.

I was also very disappointed in his comment to the effect of: Notre Dame didn't forgive me, but I will show them what forgiveness is. Good grief. The lad is getting a free education at one of the best schools in the country, and feels he can turn an act of utter stupidity into a high moral principle!

There's also another important issue here. We, as fans, repeatedly boast that "Notre Dame is not for everyone." Du Lac is one of those reasons. Should we now tear up the rule book and emulate, say, FSU or U$C instead?

The bottom line is this: McAlarney let his team down.


2/05/2007 09:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to revisit the issue but apparently some people just don't get it. People who say that McAlarney was rightfully punished because suspension is one of the consequences laid down in du Lac are missing the point.

First of all, the fact is that you cannot run res life based on a book written decades ago for every situation that arises. All situations, including KMac's, have different circumstances and thus need different consequences. There is nothing that will convince me that possessing a joint is worse than driving drunk. Making decisions based on a book and not reason is a copout, not justice. Second, I think the real reason people have problems with this situation is that I can't even begin to tell you the number of kids that were caught with pot or something else they shouldn't have been doing and faced almost no consequences. ND felt they had to react so they wouldn't be perceived as being hypocritical but in reality that's exactly what they are.

2/05/2007 11:21:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home