A first semester that was already frustrating for Kansas freshman guard Ben McLemore got worse Tuesday when he was arrested after failing to appear in court. KU coach Bill Self said that McLemore, a St. Louis native, was cited for possession of alcohol on Dec. 6 and did not show up for his court date. Self said the incident “is obviously not acceptable. Ben, not 21, was given a citation earlier for possession of alcohol at Abe and Jake’s, a local Lawrence establishment. He exercised poor judgment. He also did not let anyone know that he had been cited and had a court appearance because, certainly, we would have made sure he was there. “This will be a learning experience for him and probably a fairly costly one. Any other discipline will be handled in-house.”
McLemore, KU’s highest-ranked freshman at No. 34 nationally by Rivals.com, was ruled ineligible to play this season by the NCAA because of issues related to his high school academic transcripts. McLemore has not been allowed to practice this semester but is expected to join the Jayhawks for practice after finals are completed later this week.
Now, first of all it is pretty stupid to get arrested because you failed to appear at a court date. People need to learn that it is not a suggestion that you show up to court. You can't not go because you had to work or had school. The only reasons to miss court are if you are dead or in jail somewhere else. Those are really the only two reasons.
Second, A MIP or Minor in Possession has some serious consequences if he is convicted. For example, he will loose his driver's license. It's mandatory. He will have to pay a fine, (minimum of $200) he can get up to 30 days in jail, he has to go to an alcohol education class, he has to do 40 hrs community service. There are worse things he could have done but it's not just a simple pay a fine and be done with it case.
Third, if he takes a conviction he will have a criminal record. With the internet it's very easy for a prospective employer to run a background check on an applicant and hold it against them if something shows up.
Now in the grand scheme of things it's not the end of the world that this kid got caught drinking. I think we are all not under the impression college kids don't drink. But MIPs have serious consequences and kids need to know what they are getting into before they take a plea or go into court. I really hope that he will realize his mistake and take care of it responsibly. It's just a mistake that a lot of kids make, so don't be too hard on the kid. Rock Chalk!