Reflecting on zero tolerance

Had the UK zero tolerance policy not have led to Desmond Allison's dismissal would he be alive today?

Most of us remember the incident that triggered the zero tolerance policy adopted by the University of Kentucky's athletics department.

A 1998 tragedy claimed the lives of UK football player Artie Steinmetz and Chris Brock, a close friend of Tim Couch. The accident was alcohol related and also involved UK center Jason Watts, who was driving the vehicle. C.M. Newton quickly pushed through the policy. Any student athlete involved in an alcohol or drug related incident would be dismissed. In the spring of 2000 prior to postseason play Desmond Allison became one of the first victims of the policy when he was charged with alcohol related offenses while driving.

On Monday Allison was shot and killed in Columbus, Ohio when a former girlfriend and a current girlfriend were arguing over a hat that Allison had been given by the current girlfriend.

I cannot help but think of what may have been in this instance. Had Allison not been dismissed, but instead would have received treatment for any alcohol related problems he had and remained at UK his entire future would have changed.

A different future would likely have placed him elsewhere on Monday, and his life may not have ended prematurely. While the Newton pushed policy had good intentions there is no evidence that the policy accomplished its goals. There are many forks in the road in life, and one never knows when one of those forks will lead to tragedy. I cannot help but feel that the fork in the road that Allison was forced to take that day in early 2000 when he violated the zero tolerance policy eventually led Allison to Columbus, Ohio on a hot, steamy day in July, 2011.

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