Kentucky Football: Stoops Lays Down the Law


On Monday, September 29, University of Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops suspended four players for the upcoming game against South Carolina. Dorian Baker, Drew Barker, Tymere Dubose and Stanley Williams were suspended because of their actions on Sunday night that forced the university to shut down and have students confine themselves to their dorm rooms.  Reportedly, the four freshmen shot off one or more airguns that witnesses believe to be real firearms. At this point, the university’s Department of Student Affairs and the UK Police Department are investigating the incident and consulting with Fayette County authorities on what legal ramifications the four players will face.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Despite what we’ve recently witnessed with football players running afoul of the law, Coach Stoops was decisive and unambiguous with the suspensions.

"“Proper conduct is emphasized as a core value of our program. If we have a situation in which someone who does not act according to our standards, we hold him accountable.”– Coach Mark Stoops"

I, for one, applaud Mark Stoops on the handling of the situation. With this being the first black eye for the program under his watch, it is imperative that he lay down ground rules and set the tone for how discipline will be handled. No matter what the legal or university punishments will be, no one can argue that the four players made some bad choices on Sunday night. As a former 18 year old myself, I know that I made some really poor choices at that age (for the record, I’m still making them now). The key to learning from poor decisions is to deal with their consequences. And unfortunately for these young men, their lesson is going to be given under the harsh media spotlight.

In light of what student athletes get caught doing, perhaps an incident with an airgun may not be the most dangerous or outlandish situations. But, as the wise Oscar Combs tweeted out, this is the University of Kentucky. Stoops has pledged to not only build a winning program, but a program that the university, its fans and alumni can be proud of. Setting the tone with this minor incident can go a long way to preventing major incidents down the road.

Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The players that come into the program have to understand that as scholarship athletes, they’re going to be held to a higher standard. And if they fail to live up to those standards, there will be consequences.

"“We absolutely respect being part of a wonderful campus community. It disappoints us when one of our student-athletes does not live up to our expectations. We respect the process of the University and are working hand-in-hand with the campus community on this issue.” – Mitch Barnhart, UK director of athletics."

To go along with the on the field turnaround, Mark Stoops is showing that he can lay down the law with off the field issues as well. And that’s something the Big Blue Nation can be proud of.