EDITORIAL: ‘Nova’s Summer News

Welcome back, Villanova! A lot happened on campus this summer that you might have missed. Here’s our take …

‘Nova’s law school and basketball team – both widely acclaimed and projected to have great years in their respective rankings – made both good and bad headlines in the news.

The new law school building opened this summer, marking a likely milestone for the program. Villanova’s law school rankings are expected to soar with the completion of the new, larger and much improved facilities. The new building was a long time coming – the construction began on Nov. 29, 2007, and plans were in the works for nearly 10 years prior to the groundbreaking.

Now former Law School dean Mark Sargent spearheaded much of the fight for the new building – raising funds and negotiating with cranky neighborhood leaders. His tireless work positions the law school for incredible future success; albeit now cloaked in a two-steps forward, one-step back scenario.

In July, Sargent resigned as dean after police discovered his visit to a prostitution ring. Although a personal matter for Sargent, the news tainted the overall law school image and stayed in the news cycle.

The scandal wasn’t helped by the unusual sequence of events; Sargent resigned on a Monday for “personal and medical reasons” without elaboration. The details didn’t come out until the end of the week, leaving the University to bask in perceived shadiness.

Villanova basketball faced a similar confluence of good and bad press. The Portland Trailblazers drafted Dante Cunningham 33rd overall, a great culmination to Cunningham’s stand-out college career, and a celebration for ‘Nova Nation.

Cunningham’s multiyear contract will bring Villanova greater national recognition over the next few years and help the Wildcats’ recruitment efforts. News of Cunningham’s success, however, was soon eclipsed by mid-August’s news that senior guard Reggie Redding was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Redding is suspended from the team for the fall semester, likely 10 to12 games. Although the suspension will end before the season heats up, the news will follow the team all season. Redding has received the appropriate disciplinary action from Athletics and the University, but it will be a while, and rightfully so, before this story dies down.

When similar events happened in recent years to players from Boston College and Notre Dame, fans of opposing teams (and ESPN commentators) rode the suspended players all season. The arrest will follow Redding around deep into his senior season.

As Villanova students, we hope that this summer’s good news will come to overshadow the bad. If the law school rankings rise, Sargent’s personal indiscretions will not taint the institution for much longer. The same is true for the basketball team; the players’ combined successes should form a larger story than the storyline of any one individual.