Excerpts of Editorials on Knight

Tuesday, May 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Excerpts of editorials in Indiana about Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight following Monday's announcement by university president Myles Brand:

Herald-Times, Bloomington

To fire Knight or ask him to resign over a series of recently uncovered incidents — from as long as 24 years ago — would have been wrong. Instead, Brand had to acknowledge and denounce the incidents and frame what he expected from now on.

The suspension and fine are the weakest part of the response. Taking money out of Knight's pocket seems a particularly strange action. The directives about physical contact and decorum and civility are on target.

And it speaks to an issue larger than transgressions uncovered during the investigation. That is the issue Brand called a systemic problem that allowed IU to get to this breaking point with Knight.

Despite repeated high profile incidents involving Knight that stirred the coach's critics and constantly enlarged their circle, this was the first time in 29 years the university felt compelled to take Knight's detractors seriously and evaluate the incidents in a comprehensive way.

The number of incidents documented over the years forced the university to act. What Brand and the trustees did Monday was act responsibly.


The Indianapolis Star

Brand says future actions that bring ``embarrassment'' to the university will be grounds for immediate dismissal. But the policy remains ill-defined. If Knight slams his fist on a scorer's table, will he be fired? Will ejection from a game for cursing officials be grounds for dismissal? Will a vulgar tirade directed at a player lead to termination?

Brand says he wants to give Knight ``one last chance'' to change his ways. By doing so, the president opens himself to even more scrutiny than he's endured in recent weeks.

The news media's definition of ``embarrassment'' may be far different from Brand's. Knight's growing number of critics likely will pounce the next time the coach blows up in public. And Brand will either have to fire Knight or watch as his own credibility erodes.

The university has only delayed what appears to be inevitable.


The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne

Given IU's complicity in tolerating Knight's many misdeeds, IU is putting itself on probation, too. Both the coach and the school will be watched relentlessly in the years ahead, and they deserve to be.

It was a wise resolution of a difficult controversy. The trustees acted appropriately in advising IU President Myles Brand and then letting Brand make his own final decision. Given Knight's many strengths, Brand was right to put the coach on notice, to make clear for the first time that Knight must reform or lose his job.

And most important, the university reasserted long-neglected institutional control over its athletics department and its most visible employee.


The Evansville Courier

The clue that his probation may have a short life comes in Knight's so-called apology rendered Saturday. Talking about his temper, he said, ``I've always been too confrontational, especially when I know I'm right.''

What did confronting, intimidating and scaring a university secretary, twice, have to do with being right?

We fear he doesn't get it, and we doubt he will. Indeed, as sportswriter Mike Lupica said on ESPN's ``Sports Reporters'' Sunday, Knight didn't apologize — he offered a ``plea bargain'' to keep his job.

We heard nothing in his second apology issued Monday to change our opinion.

Knight is a fine coach of basketball. But this issue is not about coaching. It is about his personal behavior and his lack of self-control.