November 17, 2011
University of Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel was arrested Wednesday night for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. As a result, Pinkel will serve a one-game suspension and miss Saturday's game against Texas Tech.
Pinkel's arrest could not have come at a worse time for WKU.
Last Saturday, WKU defensive coordinator Lance Guidry was arrested for DWI during the Hilltoppers' road trip at LSU. The school says his punishment will be kept private. We know Guidry was not fired and we know he was not suspended. That is about all we know.
Two schools have handled the same situation very different. While both Missouri and WKU have issued punishments for the offense, Missouri has opted to be open and forthright with its disciplinary measures. Missouri athletic director Mike Alden announced Thursday the measures include $300,000 in penalties, including a donation to a campus alcohol-awareness program, and 50 hours of community service. In addition, if the Tigers make a bowl game, Pinkel won't get a bonus.
On the flip side, WKU has remained quiet. The school says Guidry's punishment fits the crime, but that is all WKU has said. Guidry could be facing similar penalties as Pinkel, but the only people that know are Guidry, head coach Willie Taggart, athletic director Ross Bjork and select others.
Which side is right? Should WKU take a chapter out of Missouri's book and become public with Guidry's punishment?
I think the school's hope is this would go away, and eventually I think it will. But Pinkel's arrest Wednesday night puts Guidry's transgressions right back into the spotlight. Now, people can compare WKU's decision-making to that of Missouri's and further question WKU's reasoning for keeping the punishment under wraps.
People do not like being kept in the dark. People want to know not IF the situation is being handled, but HOW. Subsequently, people want to be able to decide on their own whether or not the situation is being handled appropriately. We are not getting that from WKU. And until the school decides to come public with the punishment (and I wouldn't hold my breath), it will continue to face scrutiny for a lack of transparency.
Like anything else, this will eventually go away. That is until another college coach gets arrested.