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Editorial: Other sports are rightly off the hook

Daily Globe

It’s good to know the Minnesota College Athletic Conference has taken the athletics programs other than football off probation, as reported in Wednesday’s Daily Globe.

To us, it made absolutely no sense that Minnesota West athletes competing off the gridiron were essentially punished for an incident completely unrelated to them. That incident, which took place immediately following an Oct. 26 Bluejays football game in Brainerd, set off no shortage of speculation about the future of the community college’s football program, as well as athletic offerings in general.

Of course, it may be argued that probation may be too strong a punishment for the football program. Accounts of what happened in Brainerd vary, but it has been consistently pointed out is that only a select few Minnesota West players were guilty parties with regard to the unfortunate postgame events. One could easily argue that these players — and not all of their teammates, never mind the future of a whole program — should be the only ones held accountable for their actions.

Nevertheless, the conference has now made a revised decision following an appeal by MW President Richard Shrubb. Meanwhile, while a decision on that appeal was awaited, an ad hoc committee worked to evaluate the institution’s athletic program. And, during that time, we can’t help but wonder how difficult it must have been to recruit potential student-athletes to the college with that sort of metaphorical dark cloud lingering over it.

That said, we’re pleased that the business of athletics at MW can more or less proceed now as normal. While questions certainly remain, we’re hopeful the Bluejays can enjoy successful seasons despite what appears to be a hasty decision by the conference that was wisely reconsidered.