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At the end of last week Zabala was making himself unavailable for comment and Dailey said only that the decision "hurt a little."
The president's announcement was particularly ironic, considering his background. "This decision was personally embarrassing to me," he said. "I played basketball and I coached, though not very successfully. I yell at basketball games as loud as anybody. But the decision had to be made in the best interest of the university."
A couple of weeks earlier, Tatum, a former president of the United States Golf Association, may have set the stage for Lo Schiavo's action while commenting on the conflicting forces that exist in a big-time athletic program. "There are a lot of perceived pluses—recognition for the university, positive identification, support from alumni and non-alumni that transcends athletics, a positive impact on the student body. And it's fair to say that it's a way for young men to get an education they wouldn't otherwise have access to and entry to a world that otherwise wouldn't be available to them." Then Tatum added, "The brutal fact, though, is that if you can't somehow manage to conduct the program within the rules, assuming the fact that you want to, then all the perceived pluses, every single one of them, turns into a painful minus. You can just kind of multiply all that for a religious institution."
When the 1981-82 season began, Dailey was a junior majoring in communications and the superstar of the basketball team. He was considered modest and personable. He had worked as a disc jockey on the campus radio station, was the boyfriend of Reggie Jackson's niece and would make everyone's All-America team. When speculation arose that he would declare himself a hardship case in order to become eligible for the NBA draft (which eventually he did), Barry said, "If he stays next year, he'll end up being the mayor of San Francisco."
Now, as the result of his pleading guilty to aggravated assault on a USF nursing student, Dailey is lucky he's not in jail. He could have gotten as much as seven years and four months in a state prison or a year in a county jail, the sentence recommended by his probation officer. Originally he was charged with "assault with intent to commit rape, assault with the intent to commit oral copulation, assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury [aggravated assault], and willfully and unlawfully violating the personal liberty of [——] with said violation being affected [sic] by violence, menace, fraud, and deceit." On June 4 he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, and all the other charges were dropped.
At that time, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Edward Stern indicated he would give Dailey three years' probation. On June 25, Stern did just that, and then noted that he had received "unsigned and unpleasant letters" because of the likelihood that he would put Dailey on probation instead of in jail. He also took the unusual step of commenting on his decision from the bench, saying he had first considered whether or not Dailey posed a danger to the community. In his opinion, Dailey did not. Second, Stern said he had spoken with the victim, and she agreed with the sentence. In sexual assault cases in California, it's customary to get the victim's opinion about the sentence, and the judge then read a letter from her that said, "In light of his conduct I have no sympathy for Quintin Dailey but I do feel that a jail sentence is not called for. He made threatening remarks about hurting me and using a weapon, but he did not seriously hurt me, use a weapon, or rape me. I feel lucky that I wasn't seriously harmed and I feel it is because it is not Quintin Dailey's character to behave violently. He certainly could have raped me, simply because of his strength and size. He has certainly not escaped this whole thing unpunished. He is now marked for life and it is bound to have some negative consequences in the future. I feel that jail is not the answer to Quintin's problem. Probation will serve as a constant reminder of his mistake and I highly doubt it will ever happen again."
Though Dailey has privately maintained that he is innocent and a victim of mistaken identity, his guilty plea cleared the way for his selection, four days later, on June 29, by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the draft. Even before the Bulls drafted Dailey, sports columnist John Schulian of the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote that "if you really want to know how badly the values of sport have been distorted, examine the presence of Quintin Dailey on the NBA's doorstep.... I can't help believing that if Dailey weren't a basketball player, if he were just another creep off the street, he would still be learning what a chamber of horrors the halls of justice can be."
The reaction became even stronger in Chicago when Dailey appeared at a press conference held by the Bulls and failed to express remorse for the victim. "Basically, nobody heard my side of the story when it happened," he said. "And I really don't want to get into it now. I have forgotten about the episode. When you've got other, greater things ahead of you, I can put it behind me. Right now, it's forgotten."
The Chicago press denounced Dailey for his attitude, BULLS LOSE ALREADY read the headline on a Mike Royko piece in the Sun-Times. Royko quoted an anonymous woman who said she was going to organize a boycott of the team. On the same day in the same paper, Schulian wrote that "contrition didn't even seem to occur to" Dailey. "If he doesn't think it's necessary to ask forgiveness after that, he can rest assured he will get no forgiveness."
Back in San Francisco, general columnist Dick Nolan of the Examiner, a paper that had defended Dailey after the charges were brought, wrote, "This kid is a real credit to the social, moral and intellectual guidance purveyed at the University of San Francisco."