Basketball suspensions affect more than team

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

Whenever sexual assault allegations are made, it is sad. However, when allegations are made against collegiate athletes, the sadness is magnified.

In cases not involving collegiate athletes, the only victim is the person who was assaulted. Make no mistake about it, the victim of the alleged assault is far and away the most severely affected person. However, she is not the only victim. The entire basketball team, athletic department and school are all adversely affected by these sexual assault allegations.

The men’s basketball team not only lost two key players, but also lost face. The alleged actions taken by Mohamed Berte and Andre Gilbert have left a stain on the basketball team as a whole. I believe that when people think of the basketball team, the sexual assault allegations will be the first thing that comes to mind. That perception is not fair to the rest of the players who have worked hard and have nothing to do with the sexual assault.

Coach Nagy and the players have had to deal with a huge distraction. Instead of being able to completely focus on game preparations and a strong season finish, the team is forced to incorporate four football players into their team. By this time in the season, teams like to have developed chemistry and court awareness with each other. Attempting to incorporate four new players this late in the season poses a problem for continuity on the court.

Similar to the stain left on the basketball team, this can stain the entire athletic department. Stories like this can negatively affect support for all athletics. Attendance for basketball games, as well as all sports, could potentially be hurt. Donations for scholarships, among other things, could suffer by these types of actions.

Finally, the university as a whole will be hurt. This story has made national news. had a story about it and ESPN the channel made reference to it as well. Since SDSU has only recently joined the Division One level, we have little to no name recognition across the country. If someone in Alabama hears the name SDSU, chances are he or she will think San Diego State University. Now that we have a national story about us, people might be more familiar with who we are. However, this story is a negative one and does not cast a positive light on the university. If this is the first time someone in North Carolina hears of our school, he or she will more than likely not have a high opinion of SDSU.

The fact that this alleged incident happened on campus may cause concern among prospective students and their parents about attending SDSU. I would hope that students and parents realize that this is not prevalent on campus, but I am sure that not everyone will.

Athletes in general carry a higher burden of responsibility than other students. They are in the spotlight and are more recognizable. When an athlete gets into trouble, it tends to make bigger news than if a biology student does. Another example of this is when University of Minnesota hockey players were found drinking underage at a bar in Minneapolis, Minn. The story made the news in the Twin Cities. However, if three members of the engineering club were caught drinking illegally at a bar, the only people who would find out about it are the students’ parents.

Whether it is right or wrong, athletes are in the spotlight and their actions, good or bad, will reflect upon more than themselves but the team, athletic department and university as a whole.

Despite the affects on the team, department and university, the worst offense committed is still to the alleged victim. The others are unfortunate side effects of an unfortunate incident.

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