OPINION: As college basketball falls apart, Bruce Weber remains one of the good guys

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Head coach Bruce Weber describes the next play to his players during the game against the University of Texas in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 21, 2018. The Wildcats beat the Longhorns 58-48. (Meg Shearer | Collegian Media Group)

While he may not have the favor of all Kansas State men’s basketball fans for his coaching and on-court reputation, head coach Bruce Weber does things right off the court.

Weber, who is currently coaching his sixth season at K-State, has never been tied to any NCAA violations while leading the Wildcats. The same cannot be said for other coaches and programs across the country, or even within the state of Kansas.

Before the 2017-2018 college basketball season tipped off, huge news broke about a scandal that could rock the NCAA to its core.

On Sept. 26, 2017, four assistant college coaches from Oklahoma State, Auburn, Arizona and Southern California were charged with federal offenses along the lines of corruption and bribery. Those coaches were suspended by their respective universities.

Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino, head coach of the Louisville Cardinals at the time, was named in the scandal exposed by the FBI.

It was alleged that Louisville conspired with Adidas to make a six-figure payment to five-star recruit Brian Bowen so he would opt to play for the Cardinals.

Bowen decided to transfer from Louisville to South Carolina. The FBI later cleared Bowen, saying that he had no knowledge of payments made to his family.

Just one day after the college basketball world erupted, Weber spoke at K-State’s annual media day.

Weber admitted that it was a sad day for all of college basketball to see such news surface about the sport, but amid that, he could be comforted knowing that he and his team strive to do things the right way.

“The only thing I can feel good about is, as an individual, I have always tried to have high standards for myself and also for our staff and do things the right way,” Weber said to the Wichita Eagle. “By no means am I perfect. I don’t want to say that, but we are very proud of the way we do things at K-State.”

Fans have seen Weber discipline his players for misconduct in the past, even if those decisions did not put the team in a prime position to compete for a championship.

The first instance came following the 2014-2015 season. In March 2015, Weber made the decision to dismiss then-sophomore guard Marcus Foster.

Weber’s decision was a tough one because Foster was one of the best returning players that the Wildcats would have. His dismissal also left a huge gap at guard because freshman reserve Tre Harris was dismissed and sophomore Jevon Thomas transferred from the program.

Foster was suspended for three games that season as well, and his attitude and body language became increasingly negative as the tough season wore on.

Ultimately, Weber reached the decision to dismiss Foster from the team, along with Harris.

“Marcus and Tre have been unable to live up to the standards that we expect of our players,” Weber said in a statement. “It is a privilege to represent Kansas State University, and there are consequences when players don’t live up to those expectations. Hopefully they will learn from this experience and make the necessary progress to continue their basketball careers elsewhere.”

Just this past June, Weber dismissed forward Isaiah Maurice for a violation of team rules. Like Foster, Maurice also served a three-game suspension during the season.

The dismissal of Maurice was another hard one for Wildcat fans to swallow. He was a player that showed improvement at the end of the 2016-2017 season and was prepared to contribute key minutes as a forward.

Again, Weber showed his commitment to the standards he has set for basketball players at K-State.

Since September, more and more news of corruption within college basketball has surfaced.

On Friday, Yahoo! Sports released documentation of multiple big name athletes who either received money for themselves or their families. The ASM Sports agency was connected to most of the cases.

Many big-name college basketball schools are also connected in the latest developments. While the schools may not have made the payments themselves, NCAA violations are still being committed because those players receiving money are technically ineligible.

As news is likely to continue trickling out, Wildcat fans have reason to be confident that their team and school is safe amid the chaos.

Over the past two or three seasons, Weber’s coaching ability has been heavily criticized by fans and some have called for the school to move on from him, but the morality that Weber brings to recruiting and off-the-court issues is evident and is something to be respected and admired. In a day and age when college basketball is falling apart, let us just be glad we have the good guy on our side.

Yes, the results in the win column or the trophy case may not be what fans are looking for, but despite that, Weber has proven that he will value holding young men responsible over wins. In my eyes, that is the most commendable skill any coach can have.

Jarrett Whitson is a sophomore in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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Jarrett Whitson
I’m Jarrett Whitson, the sports editor this semester. I’m from Blue Rapids, KS, a town of just over 1,000 people about 40 miles north of Manhattan. I’m a junior in Public Relations, and a member of FarmHouse Fraternity. I love playing and talking about sports— especially college football