As the mantra goes, life is not fair. Senior guards Trey Lewis and Damion Lee, who transferred to the University of Louisville, learned this lesson the hard way.
The University of Louisville announced that they will self-impose a postseason ban on its Men’s Basketball team for the 2015-2016 season. This move caused commotion in the college basketball world; even shocking head coach Rick Pitino.
This postseason ban came during a time when the NCAA is investigating allegations by Katina Powell. She claims that she and other escorts were paid thousands of dollars by coach Andre McGee, who resigned last fall, to host parties with players and recruits.
Pitino stated that when he told the team about the ban, he and the rest of the team hugged the two crying seniors. Lewis and Lee transferred from smaller schools to chase their dreams of making the NCAA tournament and competing for a national championship. Neither of them had anything to do with what happened at Louisville, but they will have to suffer its burden the most.
There should be a way to punish those who actually had something to do with the problem, rather than the players who had nothing to do with it. The self-imposed ban is a travesty and a way for the University to try and suck up to the NCAA and show their control over the program. If the NCAA is to actually find evidence that everything Powell has reported is true, the team will suffer far worse consequences than a one-year ban.
So why impose this ban at this point and make all these players suffer? Why not take away scholarships or money from the program instead? Why crush the dreams of those players who chose to come to the University of Louisville to live their dreams out?
Louisville is currently 22-7 and ranked number 11 in the nation. They’re having a season that far exceeded the expectations of many analysts who picked Louisville to finish seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference at the beginning of the season. The team has been led by the two transfer seniors who have played their hearts out all year and showed great character to continue to give their all even through difficult circumstances. Lee and Lewis lead the team in scoring this season and are currently tied for second in the ACC standings.
The decision has been very hard for the entire team, who had nothing to do with these allegations, but it has been especially hard for the two transfers. The team is being severely punished for things they had no control over. There should be alternate options that can be put in place rather than punishing the team for something done by a person who isn’t even a part of the program anymore.
In future instances, the NCAA needs to find a way to handle its cases with more respect and compassion for the hard-working athletes who are not directly involved with these allegations; if not, countless teams and players will suffer from these imposed punishments.