Tue May 10 10:47am EDT
At a time when colleges so often get accused of looking the other way when one of their star athletes gets in trouble, Robert Morris certainly won't be accused of showing guard Karon Abraham too much leniency.
Abraham, the leading scorer on teams that have played in back-to-back Northeast Conference championship games, has been suspended for the entire 2011-12 basketball season as a result of two alcohol-related offenses in six months.
The first incident came in November when Abraham was charged with underage drinking and driving under the influence after crashing a borrowed car into a parked vehicle hours after a victory over Duquesne. The 19-year-old had just begun an alcohol rehab program after the season when he was cited for underage drinking again, this time as a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over on April 23.
"It's unfortunate that these measures had to be taken, however we feel it is as much our job to prepare Karon for success in life as it is to prepare him for success on the basketball court," Robert Morris coach Andrew Toole said. "We hold our student-athletes within our program and at Robert Morris University to very high standards, and if those standards aren't met there are consequences."
The decision by Robert Morris certainly shows every player will be held to the same high standards because there's no doubt the Colonials will miss Abraham's 13.9 points per game and 43 percent three-point shooting.
Robert Morris appeared to be a favorite to win the NEC championship again next season since it would have returned four of five starters from an 18-win team had Abraham not been suspended. Now the Colonials will have to duplicate some of their conference tournament success from last season when they made a surprise run to the title game and nearly upset top-seeded Long Island even though Abraham was injured.
Abraham will not be permitted to even practice with the team next season, though he will be allowed to attend games. It's a harsh punishment but it's one he better learn from because a third offense will likely mean expulsion.