Ethics vs. Jurisprudence

Some commentors on Bruin Nation and other UCLA friendly sites seem to confuse UCLA's decision on recinding scholarships to the Richardsons and Shirley as being knee-jerk and premature since the young men haven't had their day in court.

One commentor stated: "would be nice to get more info if he (Shirley) really was involved or not."

The reality is that no further information is needed. There is no doubt that Shirley was involved; the actions of he and the Richardsons taking property are on tape.

That poster further stated: “I would think CRN/AD/compliance would have sat down with him, gotten his side of the story, and determined if he was involved or not.”

What a slap in the face of UCLA officials from the football team, Athletic Department and University Administration. Why would the poster think those professionals cited did not do what was suggested? At the very least CRN and the recruiting coach, and most likely a legal official from UCLA, sat with Shirley, and probably his parents, and laid out the situation of the actions taken in regard to scholarships. Did the poster think that Shirley read about the decision in the newspapers? Remember, CRN has a law degree, he has been involved in law suits against the UW and NCAA (and won), and is fully aware of the implications of the actions he and the university have taken.

It has also been stated: “Because he (Shirley) was dealt the same punishment, it implies that there was an equal share of involvement.”

Now here is the nub of the misunderstanding --- some people are confusing criminal jurisprudence and ethics. (A very USC perspective). Call me old fashion, but being involved with friends stealing something and not doing anything about the actions is certainly grounds for losing the privilege of gift bestowed upon one.

We can imply that the charges against Shirley are not as great as those against the Richardsons since Shirley was allowed to leave police custody without having to post bail (own recognizance), but from a jurisprudence standpoint he can still be found guilty of being an accomplice to the crime. Very likely his court mandated sentence will not be as harsh as the Richardsons. Strictly a jurisprudence call based on discussions among prosecutor and the attorneys for the young men.

But the ouster of the young men from UCLA was not based on jurisprudence, but instead on ethics.

Consider that:

(1)  CRN’s own issue at UofW of being accused of not being more strict towards players with behavioral issues, and his recent handling of the EJ Woods issue,

(2) the train-wreck that is USC in our own backyard, and

(3) the UCLA Administration’s willingness to air the dirty laundry of coaches Jim Harrick and Bob Toledo

These points could offer an insight into the way the university (and CRN) arrived at a decision about the young men. Theirs was not going to be a decision determined by the level of criminal involvement; it was based on a code of ethics. While I have never seen the paperwork that bestows a scholarship to an athlete, I would be greatly surprised in this day-and-age if there was not a morals clause that is pointed out to students, i.e. accepting money, stealing, or moral turpitude.

Shirley and the Richardsons were not dismissed from UCLA because of their level of potential criminal guilt of breaking a law of the State of California. Dismissal, I’m sure, was based on CRN, the AD and University officials seeing actions on tape that warranted invoking the morals clause of the contract the young men had entered into for a free education and the privilege of playing football at UCLA.

The young men were given their release so that they can carry their personal ethical benchmark to wherever it takes them. In the case of Shirley it is to USC-North, which speaks volumes as to the young man’s character.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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