An arrest of a former Topeka athlete is putting a school and its athletic program under scrutiny. It’s the subject for tonight’s “On the Mark”.
A week ago, Lamont Austin was one of three Missouri State basketball players who turned themselves in to Springfield, Missouri police following an investigation over stolen video equipment.
Austin is a freshman guard from Highland Park.
He is, of course, innocent, until proven guilty. Missouri State basketball coach Barry Hinson said nothing should be read into his decision to suspend the players before the legal system ran its course.
But, partially because there are also football players on that campus involved in legal troubles, the timing couldn’t be worse.
There is a published report that Missouri State boosters are demanding that there be an improved screening process in place for incoming recruits. And… here's the point.
It’s purpose would be to weed out the bad kids before they are given scholarships.
Of course, we know Lamont Austin is not a bad kid. Often told they are under scrutiny because of their high profile, the message typically hits home only after something like this happens. Because he carries the hopes of a school and a city, I hope that an explanation is forthcoming.
Regardless... Lamont Austin's current experience does serve notice to young athletes who will follow --- that it takes only a few minutes of a bad decision to ruin a lifetime of hard earned respect. That’s “On the Mark”.
[ What do you think(?) There are a few ways to let me know. My sports commentaries air Monday nights at ten. ]