The Wrong Message
Officials at East Noble High in Kendalville, Ind., were bound to catch grief after they hit the school's basketball hero, Brad Miller, with a 10-game suspension for drinking during an August recruiting visit to Oklahoma State. But it shouldn't have come from Cowboy coach Eddie Sutton. The suspension was mandated by a rule that the school applies to all its athletes, but that didn't stop Sutton from criticizing East Noble officials in an interview with the Indianapolis Star.
"When I first heard about [the penalty]," said Sutton, "I said, 'You've got to be kidding.' " Sutton said that whatever Brad did in Stillwater was none of East Noble's business. That is ridiculous, but Sutton's reaction is especially disconcerting because he has said that his own drinking contributed to his forced resignation from Kentucky in 1989.
Sutton's criticism was echoed by Brad's mother, Rose, who, against her son's wishes, packed him off to Maine Central Institute, where the 6'11" senior center can play immediately. "Sitting for 10 games is not going to help Brad at all," Rose said. "He needs to work on getting ready for college."
Brad has narrowed his college choices to Oklahoma State and Purdue, but East Noble coach Marty Johnson hopes his departed star doesn't play for Sutton. "For any educator not to support a policy that tries to stop the Number One killer of teenagers is shocking," says Johnson. "What kind of message are we sending? That if you're a good athlete, things are going to be different for you in life?"