Four UK football players have been suspended for Saturday's game for violation of team rules related to shooting on campus.— Jen Smith (@jenheraldleader) September 29, 2014
Last night there were reports of shots fired on the University of Kentucky campus. Obviously a scary situation given our country's recent history of mass shootings in proximity of schools and universities. Luckily, the shots were fired from an air pistol that was later recovered. Police later stated that three BB's were fired.
News broke earlier today from the UK campus police that four males were being sought as "persons of interest". One of them was identified as wearing a shirt only handed out to the UK football team. For UK fans, it wasn't too difficult to identify freshman quarterback Drew Barker and freshman running back Stanley "Boom" Williams out of that group:
Here is picture: RT @heraldleader: Another image of "persons of interest" that police want to interview on incident pic.twitter.com/ulDU2Nd5OZ— Jen Smith (@jenheraldleader) September 29, 2014
News broke this evening that those two players along with freshman receiver Dorian Baker and freshman defensive lineman Tymere Dubose would be suspended for Saturday's game against South Carolina. Williams and Baker have been contributors all year, while Dubose and Barker were on their way to be redshirted. Tomorrow UK officials will meet with the Fayette County Attorney's Office to determine subsequent actions. Then the Office of Student Affairs could hand down its own punishment. Of course, there will be punishment handed down by Mark Stoops. I imagine their families will have a say as well. More information can be found here.
People, especially young ones, make mistakes. Very few of us are in a position to judge from a moral standpoint. Nonetheless, these suspensions were the correct decision. Firing any firearm, even if it's an air pistol, at night on a college campus is a terrible decision to make given the current climate. At best, it gets you suspended. At worst, you hurt someone and/or law enforcement mistakes a BB gun for the real thing, and proceed to use lethal force as they recently did in my city. These four players were lucky considering the spectrum of high-to-low probability outcomes.
They are young and will have ample opportunity to grow from this unfortunate series of events. Let's see how they respond. If they learn from this, internalize the lessons learned, and go on to be model student-athletes, this incident will be little more than a regretful error of judgement made when once new to adulthood.
To the trivial matter of whether or not this will impact UK's game against South Carolina: only marginally. Neither Williams nor Baker do any thing their counterparts at the running back or receiver positions can't do as has been displayed so far this season. They would have provided depth, but probably less than 7-10 combined touches. UK's deepest position is arguably running back, and the receivers all cross-train the various receiver positions. In short, if UK can't beat South Carolina without these two contributors, they weren't going to win anyway.
[probably] Developing [unfortunately]...