One of the interesting things about the Gonzaga Bulldogs men’s basketball programs is that no matter what your reason for hating the team, it is impossible to slight the Zags for being a dirty team.
For the most part, they have retained a relatively clean profile amongst the heavy hitters who constantly are self-reporting NCAA violations, dismissing players from teams for personal conduct, etc etc. That isn’t to say that the Zags have been perfect in that regard. Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis were booted off the team for felony drug possession. Josh Perkins was suspended for two games for essentially drinking and driving, but not technically by the word of the law.
In each case, the Zags have dealt with the crimes with arguably the appropriate punishment. Heytvelt and Davis were sent packing and had to be accepted back by their teammates and coaching staff. Perkins was suspended for two games. Without arguing the severity of the actions or being dismissive of their impact—in each of those cases, Heytvelt, Davis, and Perkins were all young college students. As we all know, young college students are prone to making bad decisions.
This seems a little bit different if there is any value in quantifying “how bad” the action rates. Mark Few was cited after someone called in that he was driving erratically and speeding in Dalton Gardens, an area of town which is just blocks away from Coeur d’Alene High School. In an era of Ubers, Lyfts, and the fact that Few is a literal millionaire, there is absolutely no excuse, even for a noted techno-phobe like Few. The old fashioned taxi still exists.
Few said it himself in his statement: “I believe as a leader and role model, I am expected to set only the best example.” That is why it is imperative that the Athletic Department and the university follow suit and punish him appropriately.
No program will ever make it through its life completely squeaky clean, considering the program is populated entirely by humans, and humans are known for doing terrible things. Everyone always talks about “the Gonzaga way” and part of that is coded language for emphasizing how the ills of other programs, fake classes, prostitutes, sexual assault, rape, cheating, etc, have not (publicly at least) surfaced within the ranks of the Zags. This is why the university and athletic department’s response holds a bit more weight.
Regardless of Few’s lapse in judgment and how contrite he is, he deserves to be suspended for this action and probably for multiple games. If Perkins earned a two-game suspension for his poor decision-making, then Few’s should start right there, at least. If Mark Few is standing on the sidelines of the first game of the season, it is hypocritical of the program at the very least and essentially the antithesis of “the Gonzaga way.”
There is only one chance to get this right, which is why the decision does not need to come tomorrow, or the next day, or the immediate immediate future. What is important, however, is that the decision corresponds with the values of the basketball program, and that the examples Few and company have established with previous players’ transgressions are reflected back upon the head coach properly.