Whitesburg KY

Sports in Kentucky

Common sense takes a back seat



The rise to power and influence has its price. On occasion, that price is the loss of the vital brain function common sense.

Kentuckians witnessed a handful last week, the head-shaking likes of which we haven’t seen since removal of Daniel Boone from Kentucky parkway signs.

First, Brigid DeVries. In times past the KHSAA commish has garnered praise for steady, evenhanded governance, Solomonlike decision-making and common sense.

Last week the commish laid an egg in rendering a Blooper of the Decade-worthy ruling. But the only people laughing were members of the Wilson Sears Club for the exile of private school athletic teams to irrelevance.

DeVries decreed that athletestudents Dakotah Euton and Anthony Jackson, who transferred from private school Rose Hill Academy in Boyd County to public school Scott County, halfdozen counties over, are not eligible to play sports.

Excuse me?

Conventional wisdom tells us her decision was a knee-jerk reaction to father Clay Euton’s openly shopping his son, and Jackson, to a high school with top sports facilities and prime media coverage. He chose Scott County High.

Euton said not a word about academic programs. Oops.

DeVries ruling against their eligibility to play sports amounted to cutting the baby in half.

It smacked of vindictiveness – get at a zealous parent by punishing the kid(s). A warning to unscrupulous parents, guardians and anything-for-an-edge coaches tempted to live their dreams through children.

Pragmatic, but too far reaching.

COMMON SENSE. Never cut a baby in half. Young Euton and Jackson should play as long as their academics are in good order.

DeVries should have gotten out front, emphasized Euton and Jackson could indeed attend whatever school their parents chose. Then quietly directed Scott County High officials to ban Clay Euton from attending home games or practices for, say, half a season.

A direct and more painful sting for those for whom rules must be written.

Why not also ban Jackson’s mother from games because she kept her mouth shut?

Stunned by Commissioner DeVries’s ruling, Clay Euton was moved to utter a sentence that must’ve turned Will Rogers over in his grave, laughing.

“I guess I opened my mouth when I should’ve kept it shut,” he told The Lexington Herald- Leader.

COMMON SENSE. When you go shopping never read your list aloud.

Euton will appeal.

Now for the University of Kentucky’s Board of Trustees, which rubber-stamped President Lee Todd’s “pained” decisions to increase tuition, freeze faculty salaries and fire 188 staffers.

The 20-member board then hailed Todd’s job performance with a $95,000 bonus (to go with a half million dollar pay package).

A logic, under these cost-cutting times, that begs a repeat of French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s infamous: “Let ’em eat cake.”

We find it amazing how 20 cost-conscious men and women gathered around a conference room table could have had their common sense function blink off all at the same time.

Shouldn’t UK’s CEO be accountable for weak planning for rainy days (budget shortfalls)?

Shouldn’t he explain why mil- lions are budgeted for the University of Kentucky’s jockacracy the other side of Avenue of Champions? One that blows its horn about paying its own way, while tossing a bone to the general fund in times of dire need?

For those who yammer, “. . . you don’t have all the facts,” Kentucky taxpayers who feel “pain” at the gas pump and supermarket checkout lines have facts and common sense enough to recognize the growing gap between making ends meet and a $95,000 bonus atop a half million pay package. All, while wondering how to afford college for their children.

COMMON SENSE. UK’s trustees should recall Todd’s bonus, round the figure to $100,000, direct its president to press donor friends to match it. Then review a faculty list for bottom-end paid faculty and send each a $5,000 bonus check along with a thank you note.

Credit Kentucky basketball coach Billy Clyde Gillispie with a common sense epiphany. Last week, with a nudge from the NCAA and his coaches association, Gillispie swore off recruiting grade schoolers and promised to draw a line at juniors-to-be.

COMMON SENSE. UK’s creative-minded staffers, who put together the no-longer-original and sometimes hokey Midnight Madness glitz, should refocus energies on new ways to wow 17- and 18-year-old hotshots who visit campus. A propaganda show that spawns sweet lyrics to the collective ear of Big Blue Nation: “I wanna be a Wildcat!”

That Dr. Orlando ‘Tubby’ Smith is the new president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches symbolizes a swing back to integrity. A landmark, considering Kelvin Sampson held the post and represented college coaches’ current image: “You will know coach is spinning if his lips move.”

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