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Matt Norlander

MWC punishes Alford with ... 'public reprimand'

The Dagger

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What. A. Joke.

In the past two days, we've already detailed the wrongdoings of New Mexico coach Steve Alford and BYU senior Jonathan Tavernari during the end of the UNM-BYU game Saturday in Provo. If you need a refresher, or are just awakening from a post-Olympics hangover, here's what you need to know.

We awaited the Mountain West's decision on what to do with Alford for cursing out an opposing student-athlete. We didn't have to wait long. Last night, the conference came down, and came down meekly.

Now, I'm about to include a drop quote into this post. Normally, when inserting said drop quote, you take a tiny bit from an article to highlight your point — to give it added credibility or to bring more voice into the piece. The following is all the MWC brass had to say on the confrontation.

University of New Mexico Men's Basketball Head Coach Steve Alford has been issued a public reprimand for his unduly provocative language toward an opposing student-athlete following the February 27, 2010 New Mexico at BYU men's basketball contest. Coach Alford's action was in violation of MWC Sportsmanship Rule 4.4.3. The Mountain West Conference will have no further comment regarding this case. The provisions of the MWC Sportsmanship Policy can be found in Rule 4 of the MWC Handbook - which can be accessed via the www.TheMWC.com Web site.

If you go here, that's all there is to it. What you see above is the vicious, unforgiving reprimand.

Where's the sense of accountability, MWC? You think Alford is bothered one bit by this? I wasn't expecting a suspension, but what about a fine at least?

The critical element to know here is that Alford and Tavernari spoke afterward, in the locker room, about it and the problem was resolved. But Alford's "punishment" for failing to act like a professional is a joke. As if we needed another example of how much power coaches can have in college basketball.

What I'd like to know is, what would it have taken for the MWC to actually punish Alford? The cynic in me says we may find out one day, because a line has yet to be drawn as to what is and isn't tolerated in the Mountain West.

Coaches should never verbally assault or challenge opposing student-athletes. The MWC looked almost as bad as Alford by letting him off the hook.

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