Strickland case gives opportunity to set example

Kernel Editorial Board

For UK men’s assistant basketball coach Rod Strickland, the fourth time should be the charm.

According to an April 12 Kernel article, Strickland was arrested on April 11 for his fourth drunken driving incident, among other charges. This is unacceptable.

As a former NBA player and assistant coach under John Calipari, Strickland is in the public eye at all times. He is a role model to kids across the  country, working closely with some of UK’s best student-athletes on a daily basis.

The last thing these kids and athletes need is to be looking up to someone who has alcohol abuse problems. It seems as if Strickland doesn’t realize he’s someone people strive their whole lives to be, nor has he fully embraced his mentoring role.

That said, UK athletics needs to do one of two things.

One option is to fire Strickland. Sure, he was a great point guard in the NBA which makes him valuable for recruiting, but the athletic department needs to do what’s right for the student-athletes and the school’s overall image. UK is a university with a zero-tolerance alcohol policy, and it can’t have such a high-profile employee behaving in this manner — especially with the alcohol-related incidents students are involved in.

If the athletic department does choose to keep Strickland on the payroll, he needs help.

Some type of treatment seems to be necessary —one DUI may be a mistake, but four scream there is a problem. Get Strickland help. Alcohol abuse is a serious problem, and if proper intervention isn’t taken to help resolve the alcohol issues, at the very least allocate part of his salary for a full-time driver.

Maybe it’s the constant, overwhelming pressure to succeed in college basketball causing coaches at UK to behave inappropriately, but the administration cannot sit back and pretend this didn’t happen because of a famous name and celebrity status.