Schu Strings: Tough Decisions Ahead For Cats

It's the decision every athletic department dreads. But every athletic department must make. What to do in regards to discipline following an incident with the law. Wildcat football players have made the police blotter over two barfight incidents.

These certainly aren't the kinds of headlines Bobby Wade would want. Wade, Arizona's standout wide receiver, missed a scheduled July court date in Scottsdale for a misdemeanor incident involving a barfight. Additionally, it was discovered he had a gun in his car. And over the weekend, Wildcat football players Andre Torrey, Danny Perry and Javier Martinez were cited by police following a skirmish at and outside a Fourth Avenue nightclub.

"There are two sides to every story, and I expressed to them the need to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible," Arizona Head Coach John Mackovic told Arizona Daily Star reporter Charles Durrenberger in regards to the barfight in Tucson. "Then we'll talk about any action we see appropriate."

Mackovic uttered a similar statement to KOLD TV Monday. KOLD was the first Tucson news outlet to report that story. Mackovic's statements were of the same vein in regards to the Wade incident, which the Arizona head coach addressed at Pac-10 Media Day.

In both cases, and at this stage, really, what more can Mackovic say? In this era of instant information necessity, taking a by-the-book approach can be both frustrating and hindering. And while the athletic department waits for some semblance of justice to take its course, it receives heat from both sides.

For the athletic department, incidents like this are no-winners. If the public perception is the on-field penalty is a slap on the wrist, many fans will be less than pleased, stating athletes get preferential treatment. Others will naturally feel the penalty, given the circumstances, was too severe.

Perry, Martinez and Torrey were charged with disorderly conduct following the incident. Martinez faces an additional charge of criminal damage for pushing over a motorcycle.

As an aside, according to the UA football roster, Perry is 20-years-old. If this is an incident that occurred inside a drinking establishment, as a minor, he shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Much of the Wade incident sounds similar on the surface, but it garnered more headlines because he compounded a bad situation by forcing the hands of Scottsdale authorities. While he was cited for misdemeanor involvement, missing the court date led to an arrest warrant. In the grand scheme of things, not the worst offense in the world. But certainly not the brightest either. That's just shirking responsibility, and for that alone there should be repercussions.

Every event carries with it the potential for extenuating circumstances, all of which the UA athletic department will have to weigh. In the case of the Tucson fight incident, from the facts as best it can determine: Did the football players instigate the fight? Were they prodded? Were they defending themselves?

To a more cynical approach: In this regard, Wade's importance is obvious. Torrey is considered a potential contributor along Arizona's very thin defensive front. Martinez may also see time at defensive end. If there's a fortunate element, it's that the events took place during the summer. It shouldn't take too long to get the information cleared away, at which point the UA athletic department can take what it deems appropriate action prior to the onset of the football schedule, as opposed to the added pressure of a tighter timeline had the incidents occurred during the season.

Given the apparent level of Arizona's non-conference competition, with a matchup against NAU kicking off the season, there's also a strong possibility that should suspensions be levied, they might not affect the team's won-loss record.

Onto other matters. Late last week I'm at lunch with master message poster fgreek. Many of you know fgreek as the resoundingly intelligent, yet occasionally misguided academic soul who posts consistent threads of brilliance on the Cat Tracks message boards. Fgreek and I do the food consumption thing about once a month, that is, when he isn't overwhelmed with math camps.

This time around, we opted for Chinese. Generally not a bad choice, even though Chinese food in Tucson tends to lag. Still, a good meal, good conversation, lots of laughter, deep debate and refills on the root beer. And then it happened. The traditional end-of-meal fortune cookies arrived.

Except they aren't traditional anymore. At what point did fortune cookies stop providing fortunes? Where did I miss the memo on this? More importantly, can I sue for false something-or-other? Perhaps I'm somehow forever damaged by the lack of fortunosity in my fortune cookie. I mean, didn't they bust Cleo for fraud? I demand a fortune cookie crackdown. And I demand it now.

My fortune at lunch: "You are an adventurer—traveling on the highway of life."

Um, what the hell is that? I will tell what it's not. It's not a bleeping fortune.

Fgreek's fortune: "Striving to be the best will bring you closer to the best." Um, say what? Not a fortune. Political slogan, something you'd see on a banner hung behind George W. Bush at one of his speeches perhaps, but certainly not a fortune.

On my computer: "Your principles mean more to you than any money or success."

These are not fortunes. These are bumper stickers. Soon, I expect to open a "fortune" cookie and read, "We can not simultaneously prepare for peace while building for war"—Albert Einstein. Or, "Visualize Whirled Peas."

If some dumb chub can sue the fast food industry because he's a dumb chub, maybe I can sue the fortune cookie biz for misrepresentation. I mean, the fortune cookie should have the same level of accuracy as the newspaper horoscope. I really want to know that "Soon I'll have a chance at a profitable transaction," or that in the near future, "My love life will take a major turn."

If I want catch phrases, I'll watch professional wrestling. Oh yeah, I already do that.

Perhaps we can contract John Edwards and have a Crossing Over event during sweeps as he communicates with the dead fortune portion of the "fortune" cookie.

"Empty Calories, not Empty Fortunes."

"Fortunes, not slogans." Since my Dick Vitale boycott has concluded its one-year run, I can see another Schu campaign unfolding now.

They'd better not spike my orange chicken.

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