There are two main schools of thought on discipline. One is as a form of righteous punishment doled out to balance out some terrible wrong. The other view commonly held is that the point of discipline should be used to help the subject of the action come out a better human being.
What Justin Moss, Raheem Johnson, and Mory Diane did was wrong. It was stupid beyond belief and in committing the thefts they dishonored themselves, their team, and their school. I will not make any excuses for the actions taken because there is literally no excuse for putting your future in jeopardy over 650 dollars in cash and jewelry.
But step back and ask yourself this question: What form of discipline makes Justin Moss the best man he can be in ten years?
It's a question I ask myself every time I have to discipline my kids. First, I make sure I'm not angry about the event. I'll send them to their room while I smolder and after I realize I don't hate them I'll call them back out.
"Thing 2 (editorial nickname for my second child)" I'll say, "How can I make you the best Thing 2"?
So right now the student disciplinary committee needs to divorce itself from any emotion over this situation. Your feelings on collegiate athletics should be left to the side. Your job is to make Justin Moss, the UB student, the best man he can be. It's not to make an example out of him for committing a minor crime.
Moss is *SIX* credits short of obtaining his degree and he has only been at UB - his third school - three years. Outside of his problems with stealing he is a model campus citizen and a stand up guy. I have heard that Moss had already been seeing a counselor for his theft problem but it's just a rumor without anyone willing to go on record.
Do you make a guy like Moss the best he could by sending him away from Buffalo with no degree? He probably cannot transfer the bulk of his credits elsewhere and even if he could there is no guarantee he could afford another school.
Consider that the students involved did not even want to press charges.
If the student disciplinary committee takes the easy road, deciding to kick him out of school, they will not only fail in their responsibility to Moss but they will open themselves up to the following question;
"Would you have done that to someone not named Justin Moss"
Can Moss and his legal counsel go back and find an example of the school taking mercy on some scrawny non-athlete for committing a similar offense?
In my opinion the best way to help Moss here is a suspension from the team for a part of this fall's Basketball slate and copious amounts of community service. I'm talking real productive, hard service. He has just a few classes to take and he's a big strong guy. I'm sure the University can find something for him to contribute.
So let him miss some games this fall. He may have just taken himself out of the running for more than one postseason award. He has had to have his name dragged through the mud, and he has let down his team and coach. This, plus some service, is corrective discipline that can help him become a better man while leaving him the tools - like a hard-earned diploma - that anyone would need to do so.
And that's what we should be after, not blood.