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Published September 05 2012

Forum editorial: Extreme unfairness at NDSU

It was painful to watch Gene Taylor explain a double standard. The North Dakota State University athletic director was responding to the obvious question: Why will several Bison football players expected to be charged with voter fraud, a Class A misdemeanor, stay on the team, while another player, charged with indecent exposure, also a Class A misdemeanor, will be sitting at home?

Well, Taylor labored mightily to explain, he and coach Craig Bohl concluded that faking signatures on ballot petitions was not the same as exposing oneself in a public place. Of course the two alleged crimes are different, but under the law, they fall into the same classification. They impose the same penalty for a conviction.

Moreover, in the exposure incident, it is possible the offending football player is merely guilty of an unfortunate apparel adjustment that was seen by someone who reported it as something it might not have been. In the voter fraud charges, evidence against the football players is quite convincing.

In both cases, the legal system will determine guilt or innocence. Until then, all the players who have been charged with Class A misdemeanors are innocent.

Ironically, Bohl (apparently with the backing of Taylor) said he won’t take disciplinary action against those charged with voter fraud until they “have their day in court.” But the player charged in the exposure incident was booted off the team before he has his “day in court.”

Simple solution: Reinstate the player who’s been charged in the alleged exposure incident. Then the coach and Taylor can have their stars for the big game in Colorado on Saturday without the taint of unfairness being visited on a young man who is not a big star but certainly was dedicated to the team.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.

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