It was at best optimistic thinking, at worst totally delusional. But the reality is that Janice McAlarney, for whatever reason, genuinely believed her son would be reinstated to the Notre Dame basketball team this week and spend Tuesday night playing against St. John's at Madison Square Garden, just 15 miles from his Staten Island home.
|Is one joint really enough to kick Kyle McAlarney out of school? (US Presswire)|
After those words, her voice cracked.
Exactly like her heart.
And suddenly this was no longer just a story about Kyle McAlarney, starting point guard, being dismissed from Notre Dame. It now had a voice filled with anger, a mind with disbelief, a mother outraged at a prestigious university she felt wronged her son.
"Kyle doesn't deserve this," Janice McAlarney said. "The punishment doesn't fit the crime."
That's what a state trooper reported finding in the console of McAlarney's car during a Dec. 28 traffic stop. The sophomore was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and immediately suspended. Now, nearly four weeks later -- in a Monday night meeting his mother said lasted four minutes -- McAlarney not only learned he would miss the remainder of the basketball season but also be kicked out of school for the semester.
It's a steep price to pay, no doubt, but also, in a way, refreshing. There are guys with rap sheets -- drug arrests, domestic violence arrests, robbery arrests -- currently competing in practically every league in America, so when a university puts integrity and character above points and rebounds, it's a development worth applauding on some level.
That said, are you kidding?
A first-time offender and, by most accounts, solid individual being dismissed from school over an off-campus arrest for a joint seems grossly excessive, particularly in 2007. And yes, I realize that use of marijuana or other controlled substances by students is considered a serious offense, one punishable by dismissal according to du Lac, the Notre Dame student handbook. But that doesn't make it any less silly, and how the university handled it was even worse.
Keep in mind, McAlarney was charged Dec. 28, and this wasn't a real complicated case.
Kid got pulled over.