By now all of you have heard about the controversy surrounding the University of Georgia basketball team, which was sparked by allegations of impropriety from former Bulldog guard Tony Cole.
I'd like to preface my comments by admitting that I'm an enormous fan of Georgia coach Jim Harrick. He is obviously a great college basketball coach, and from the several times I've met him, Harrick seems like an extremely nice guy.
Also, it's sad to see the other Georgia players get caught up in this situation during such an important stage of the season.
With all that said, there still seems to be something fishy going on in Athens.
There is no question that Georgia's accuser is not a choir boy. Cole has either quit or been run out or nearly 10 high school and college programs in the past four years.
He has had a number of legal problems, and he has burned a lot of bridges along the way.
Personally, I have to wonder about ESPN's timing on breaking this bombshell.
It just so happens that the network aired the story just days before Georgia' huge matchups with highly-ranked SEC opponents Kentucky and Florida.
The Georgia-Florida game was broadcast live by -- you guessed it -- ESPN.
But even if ESPN used the scandal to drive up television ratings, the allegations by Cole might have the ring of truth.
Harrick warned "take a look at the source," and he says, "soon we will all see what kind of kid he is."
Well, coach, Cole is a kid you fought like crazy to get in school at Rhode Island, and despite his past transgressions, you welcomed him with open arms at UGA.
If Cole is such a bad guy, why did you put your program in harms way by bringing him to Athens?
And Cole isn't the only player of questionable character that Harrick has vigorously pursued during his stint with the Dogs.
Harrick was the only college coach in the country to offer Kenny Brunner a chance to play -- the same Kenny Brunner who spent five months in jail for holding a gun to the chest of a junior college coach and relieving him of his cash.
As if that wasn't enough, Brunner threatened to kill the man if he told anyone about the robbery.
But there's more to know about this thug. Brunner was kicked off the basketball team at Fresno State after he participated in an assault on a fellow student, and it wasn't a mere fist fight -- Brunner wielded a samurai sword.
Fresno State coach Jerry Tarkanian, who has never shied away from controversy, was smart enough to cut Brunner loose.
Harrick, meanwhile, battled to get Brunner in uniform, and thankfully that never happened, mainly because UGA President Michael Adams wouldn't allow it.
A coach can't be blamed when a player goes bad, but it's a different story when a coach pursues an athlete with a troubled past.
I'm not naive. Cheating in various forms goes on at every big-time college program, but when a coach recruits players with poor track-records, that coach is setting the stage for his own demise.
Hopefully, this is not going to be Harrick's fall. He has done a superb job with the Georgia basketball team.
Still, if this scandal costs Harrick his job, he brought it on himself.
A college coach has the responsibility to bring in players who will represent their program in a positive way.
So while Harrick is trying to paint all of Cole's allegations as false, maybe he can explain why he wants athletes such as Cole on his team in the first place.
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