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Harty: Making decisions about discipline

[ 7 ] June 10, 2012 |

If ever there was a week that provided mixed results for Iowa Hawkeye fans, it’s the one we just finished.

It started with 6-foot-8 Wisconsin basketball transfer Jarrod Uthoff picking Iowa over Iowa State and ended with prize running back recruit Greg Garmon being picked up by the police and charged with simple marijuana possession.

The buzz about Uthoff’s decision to transfer to Iowa barely had subsided when reports surfaced Thursday of Garmon’s arrest in his hometown of Erie, Pa.

If you didn’t know better, you’d wonder if Iowa running backs are cursed, considering how many have dealt with adversity recently.

But we all know better. We know it’s still only a coincidence caused mostly by injuries and by poor decision making. We know that because no other explanation makes sense without being a little creepy.

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz hasn’t made any public comments since Garmon was arrested, which is standard operating procedure for Ferentz in situations like this.

It’s also the right thing to do.

UI athletic officials, including Ferentz, say all the time that they handle legal issues involving their student-athletes on a case-by-case basis.

That’s what happening now.

Ferentz is gathering the facts, and when he feels he has enough information to understand what occurred, he’ll make a decision about Garmon’s future.

My hunch is that Garmon’s future is still with the Hawkeyes because what he’s been charged with hardly seems like enough to cut all ties.

It doesn’t make Garmon a bad kid, just a kid who made a bad decision. If you want to drive a vehicle with an expired registration, it’d be wise to make sure there aren’t any illegal substances in the car.

Unfortunately, it’s too late for Garmon to heed that simple advice.

The first thing Garmon should’ve done after being arrested is delete his Twitter account because let’s just say without being specific that it’s not helping his image. Surprisingly, it still hadn’t been touched as of noon Sunday.

You wonder if kids truly understand how Twitter works based on some of the things that are expressed. You wonder in the case of student-athletes if they realize that some sportswriters and recruiting analysts and fans are hanging on their every word.

I’m all for freedom of speech and expressing your individualism, but I also understand why Ferentz prohibits his players from being on Twitter. It’s just too risky and too easy to hit the tweet button.

It’s hard to say if Ferentz is lenient or harsh when it comes to disciplining his players. He’s somewhere in the middle, which could mean he’s fair.

Suspending Garmon for two, three or maybe even four games would seem fair in this case. Anything beyond that would seem excessive unless more information comes out.

The fact that Garmon is a four-star prospect and one of Iowa’s highest-rated incoming recruits shouldn’t matter in the disciplinary process, nor should the high amount of attrition at running back.

And they probably won’t matter because Ferentz seems like a person who genuinely does the right thing for the right reasons. People have questioned his clock management and his conservative ways, but not his integrity.

Ferentz took away the scholarship of fellow incoming running back recruit Michael Malloy for at least one semester after Malloy was charged with marijuana possession. The difference is that Malloy also ran from police before turning himself into authorities, while Garmon reportedly cooperated from the beginning.

Both players deserve ve second chances, but their cases are different and should be treated differently.

Garmon has overcome far worse adversity than this during his young life, including being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He needed courage and determination to help beat that form of cancer. He’ll need time and his own good behavior to beat this latest obstacle.

Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or pharty@press-citizen.com.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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