COMMENTARY: IU Must Part Ways With Mackey

There's nothing wrong with IU fans pulling for Bud Mackey. Heck, you can count me among them. It just shouldn't be with him wearing a Hoosier uniform next fall...

There's nothing wrong with IU fans pulling for Bud Mackey. Heck, you can count me among them.

It just shouldn't be with him wearing a Hoosier uniform next fall.

For those who've been living under a rock for the last seven days, here's a quick recap. The IU commit from Georgetown, Ky., was arrested last Friday at Scott County High School and is now facing two felony drug trafficking charges. According to the police report, Mackey had five pieces (1.6 grams) of rock cocaine hidden in his shoe, and he's admitted to intending to deliver the drugs to an unspecified person.

He's now out on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 16. He's also been suspended from school grounds and school activities for 10 days, and the school district is reviewing whether he will be expelled.

It's an equally stunning and disturbing story about a soft-spoken, ‘yes sir, no, sir' kind of kid who seven months ago was leading his high school team to a state championship by scoring 20 points in the second half of the title game, a top-40 player nationally who had designs of helping IU to a national championship.

Now, that once promising future has been reduced to a flicker thanks to one horrendous decision.

Admittedly, the status of IU's scholarship offer should be an afterthought to this story, as this 18-year-old's future and freedom is hanging in the balance. If convicted of both charges, Mackey could be facing as many as 10 years in prison, significant fines, and a lifelong label of convicted felon.

But the status of his scholarship offer is a topic of debate, and I'm here to say that it should be withdrawn by the IU coaching staff.

Some will argue that a few of our society's bedrocks are a presumption of innocence and everyone's right to due process. That's true in a court of law, but it doesn't carry the same sort of weight when it comes to whether IU should honor its original scholarship offer.

Whether Mackey is found guilty as charged, reaches a plea agreement on lesser charges or is even acquitted, the fact remains he's admitted to at worst trafficking cocaine, and at best being a middle man in a cocaine transaction. And he did it on school grounds, which is what prompted the second felony charge.

Nothing justifies doing that. Not a story about coming from a tough environment or about growing up in a broken home. Not a tale about running with the wrong crowd or about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Those are reasons to feel sympathy and sorrow and even compassion. They're reasons to hope he gets a second chance to pursue his basketball dream somewhere down the road. But it shouldn't be – can't be – at Indiana University next fall.

They're not reasons enough to turn a blind eye to what he's admitted he's done.

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