Leaders of Perdition and Lessons Never Learned
High profile people have been known for scandalous behavior. From politicians (John Edwards and Mark Sanford) to professional athletes (Tiger Woods and O.J. Simpson) to people in the entertainment industry (David Letterman and R. Kelly), pretty much every profession has been hit by scandals.
Illicit behavior is particularly grievous when the person is entrusted with the well being of our young people in college.
The latest episode involves the University of Georgia Athletic Director Damon Evans.
Evans, seen on UGA's Sanford Stadium video board exhorting fans and students to not drink and drive, was arrested for drunk driving on a late Wednesday night.
To make matters worse, Evans, married father of two, was found in the company of a young woman and had her red panties between his legs.
A well known quote from an unknown source reads, "The difference between a wise man and a fool is that a wise man learns from others' mistakes...the fool learns only from his own."
Evans didn't need to look far to see the risks he was taking. College sports are rife with leaders making bad choices. Usually, these mistakes come with severe consequences.
LSU women's basketball coach Dana "Pokey" Chapman was on top of her game in the 2004-2006 seasons. In those years, she led the Lady Tigers to three consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances.
In 2007 it all came tumbling down when she was forced to resign after one of her assistants turned her in for having an inappropriate relationship with a former student and player. It was alleged that the relationship began while Chapman was coaching the student athlete.
After her resignation, Chapman was able to salvage her career in women's basketball, but had to relocate to Moscow, Russia, where she took an assistant's position with the Moscow Spartak.
Although Evans' affair and drunk driving wasn't reported to the university by one of his subordinates, the fact that he was so reckless with his career shows a lesson lost.
Atlanta is a big city, but you never know who may take notice of your comings and goings. Allegations can can come at any time and from anywhere.
In December of 2002, Mike Price was given one of the premier coaching positions in college football. Hired to replace Dennis Franchione as head coach of the Crimson Tide, this hire would soon become the worse scandal in the history of the university.
What began as a golf tournament in Pensacola, Florida for Price quickly became a national headline.
Sports Illustrated broke the story that Price was seen at a Pensacola strip club. The story alleged that he took two women, one of them a stripper named Destiny, back to his hotel room.
One of the women involved ordered $1000.00 worth of room service. She got it to go.
After the scandal was brought to light, Alabama rescinded Price's still unsigned contract.
Price eventually landed at the University of Texas in El Paso, where he has a mediocre record of 34-38 in six seasons.
Lesson lost? The media will be unmerciful.
If John Doe gets arrested in the company of a young lady, sans panties, who is not his wife, the police blotter will only report the DUI arrest. He may even be able to hide his indiscretion from his wife.
Not so for people with high profile positions. If you are newsworthy, rest assured that every sin will be brought to light.
Louisville's basketball coach Mike Pitino reported on April 18, 2009 that he was a target of an extortion attempt by a former mistress.
In 2003, Pitino met Karen Cunagin Sypher at a Louisville Italian restaurant. Before the night was over, the two found themselves engaging in sexual intercourse under one of the dining room tables after the restaurant closed.
As sordid as that seems, things soon became more depressingly squalid.
Several weeks after their first meeting, Sypher claimed to be pregnant and uninsured. Pitino forked over $3,000.00 for Sypher to have an abortion.
Six years later, Sypher was alleged to have attempted to blackmail Pitino for 10 million dollars.
After Pitino went public with the affair and the extortion attempt, Sypher made accusations of rape against Pitino and also accused him of paying his equipment manager to marry her.
Although the University of Louisville has a morality clause in Pitino's contract that allows for his firing for "acts of moral depravity or misconduct that damages the university's reputation," the Cardinals retained the married father of five.
The lessons lost on Evans here are many.
The main lesson is: Be careful who you place your trust in.
Would Courtney Fuhrmann, although happy to enjoy the company of Evans in the present, still be as happy two or three years down the road? Evans allowed himself to be placed in a very precarious situation—all in the name of temporary pleasure.
What makes this story even sadder is that Evans was exposed less than 24 hours before his salary was to be increased to $550K a year.
Lessons only the fool can learn are the ones that are never reported by the media.
The hurt and humiliation that are thrust upon the husbands, wives, and children, the embarrassment felt by the school administration and students, and the betrayal felt by the student athletes is unimaginable.
The financial lessons can be just as devastating.
Most people live a lifestyle in direct relation to their income. When that income is lost, doubt and uncertainty quickly sets in, adding to an already sad and stressful situation.
Hopefully others will be wiser than Evans and learn their lesson by studying the fool.
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