On Monday afternoon, the Binghamton athletic department released a statement that Jordan Reed and Javon Ralling had been arrested for disorderly conduct over the weekend. Ralling had also been charged with resisting arrest, and as per university protocol, the two players were immediately suspended from all basketball activity.
They are set to appear in court on Oct. 17, and neither player can request reinstatement until the legal process is complete.
This comes as the latest bad publicity for a program that, just four years ago, was on the rise. The 2008-09 Binghamton squad won the America East tournament, drawing a NCAA tournament date with Duke. Though the Bearcats fell to the Blue Devils, they returned almost every key player and were expected to repeat.
But then Tiki Mayben was arrested on cocaine charges, five other players were dismissed and Kevin Broadus was forced out. The Broadus era officially culminated last year, when the Bearcats won just two games and Mark Macon, Broadus’ replacement and former assistant, was fired.
Tommy Dempsey came in as a coach with a great reputation, a coach who demands strong character in addition to talent from his players. And though he made impressive strides on the recruiting trail — all the more impressive when you consider he was hired in the end of May — Reed was his first recruit.
As a result, critics think the culture at Binghamton has not changed.
But Reed and Ralling made a mistake. That’s it. Disorderly conduct is a minor charge — they weren’t involved in a cocaine deal, they didn’t steal condoms and bulldoze an old lady in the process, and they didn’t put a fellow student into a coma in a bar fight.
There are still details to be unveiled, but as it stands, neither committed a major offense.
As for Dempsey, the former Rider coach has too good of reputation to be judged harshly right now. He and Binghamton athletic director Patrick Elliott are clearly addressing the matter seriously, and in all likelihood, it will be dealt with properly.
For now, it’s just the latest setback in Binghamton’s rebuilding attempt. But it shouldn’t crush Dempsey’s chance at making the Bearcats relevant again.
For more on this, check out this report from Binghamton University’s student-run paper, Pipe Dream.
Ari is the founder of binghamtonbasketball.com, The Bearcats Basketball Blog.