EDITORIAL: UAlbany officials and basketball coach owe public answers

University at Albany's head coach Dwayne Killings Wednesday, January 12, 2022.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

University at Albany's head coach Dwayne Killings Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

If you go to the SeeThroughNY website that lists the state payroll, you’ll find UAlbany head men’s basketball coach Dwayne Killings’ name next to his annual base pay of $372,300.

And if you look in the state budget for SUNY schools, you’ll find hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money allocated to a university system that includes UAlbany.

Coach Killings is an employee of that school, which is funded by taxpayer money, and that makes him a public employee.

So neither he nor his bosses can act like he’s not answerable to the public when it comes to questions regarding a “substantiated” allegation of “inappropriate physical contact” between the coach and one of his players back in November.

The public deserves to know what happened, who was involved and what led the school to give him a temporary alternative assignment, suspend him for five games next season and fine him $25,000 for the incident.

If it was any other public official — a mayor, a town supervisor, a school superintendent, a city council member, a governor — the public wouldn’t stand for the incomplete responses that Killings, UAlbany athletic director Mark Benson and college President Havidan Rodriguez have given.

Killings wouldn’t be able to get away with just wanting to “talk about our program,” without addressing the allegations made against the leader of that program.

This isn’t going away. He’ll miss five games of a 30-something game season next year because of this. And the allegation will hang over his head for the next four years of his contract.

As with any allegation kept secret, it opens the door to rumors and speculation that will undermine his ability to coach the team and possibly hurt the college’s chances of recruiting players to play for him.

Would you send your child to a school where the coach had some kind of undisclosed “inappropriate physical contact” with one of his players to the degree that the college felt the need to suspend and fine him?

Are you comfortable forking over $372,000 plus perks of your tax and tuition dollars to a public employee working under this cloud?

What did he do? Did he punch a player? Smack him in the head? Something worse?

We understand why UAlbany officials would want to sweep this investigation under the rug, and we understand why Coach Killings would want to move on from it.

But this incident doesn’t involve a private school, and it can’t be treated as a private matter.

The public deserves answers.

UAlbany and its basketball coach have an obligation to the public to provide them.

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Categories: Editorial, Opinion, Sports, UAlbany

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