Xavier and Cincinnati – Gangstas in the Locker Room?

Share Your Thoughts: Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Crisis Communication


Xavier and Cincinnati – Gangstas in the Locker Room?


Letting events define you

 Commentary by Karen Masullo, Firestorm EVP Social Media

I love College hoops. I’ve been to many Finals, and have always loved the passion and “heart” displayed by coaches, players, fans and supporters. I also spent many, many years in Ohio and am intimately aware of the long-standing rivalry between Xavier and Cincinnati.

To say I was shocked by both the behavior and post-game player and coach comments is an understatement.

Who allowed players Mark Lyons and Tu Holloway to comment at the post-game presser? They were justified by smack-talk on Twitter?

In ANY crisis – and in college basketball an on-court brawl such as this constitutes a crisis – leadership must be the sole voice, post-game.

More important, because of the close physical proximity of the campuses, both institutions must communicate and have a plan in place to insure there is no escalation on campus, and should this occur, that appropriate response is practiced and in-place.
As you have read before from Firestorm, we follow a PREDICT. PLAN. PERFORM.®  process in developing crisis communications plans.

In his post-game comments and in response to a question regarding the statements by Lyons and Holloway (“We’re grown men over here,” said  Holloway, “We got a whole bunch of gangsters in the locker room. Not thugs, but tough guys on the court”), Chris Mack, third-year Head Coach at Xavier states that “I think that those two kids are warriors on the basketball court, they’re competitors, sometimes they probably don’t represent themselves with their use of words real well.”

Then why were they allowed open mics at a live presser? This is not a “normal” post-game press conference – because of the game events a prepared, crisis communication plan should have been triggered by the events.

Effective crisis communication is a crucial element in effective crisis management and should assume a central role from the start.

It establishes confidence in the ability of leadership to deal with a crisis and to bring about a rapid resolution. Effective crisis communication is also integral to the larger process of information exchange aimed at eliciting trust and promoting understanding of the relevant issues or actions.

Providing accurate and timely information to stakeholders is essential to the crisis communications process. Identifying and prioritizing target audiences and then identifying channels of communications must be established for effective internal and external communications.

It must include predetermined stand-by messaging and tactics such as prepared templates, ready-to-use news releases, media statements, fact sheets, and backgrounds.

The Xavier basketball team crisis communication plan should have been immediately enacted, with Coach Chris Mack only delivering key messages.

By having no plan in place, Xavier allows this event to define them – and more than defining the basketball team, it defines the school, its leadership and board.

Having a practiced, prepared crisis communication plan in advance allows you to define who you are rather than have the event define you.

In contrast, Cincinnati Head Coach Mick Cronin passionately addressed what the school is really about – he made no excuses for his players, and brought it down to “they’re here to get an education.”

“We represent an institute of higher learning – it’s way more important than basketball games,” said Cronin.
Xavier’s mascot is the Musketeer; Alexandre Dumas romanticized the Musketeers as inseparable friends who live by the motto “all for one, one for all.”

By Xavier’s own definition now, they are not Musketeers but rather “…a whole bunch of gangsters in the locker room.” Whether Holloway meant on the court or off, that is not the ideal to come to mind when a parent and child are mulling over colleges of choice.

Think this is just a basketball game? Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said in a statement Monday that his office will review the fight to determine whether any charges are appropriate.

These two teams will meet again. Put the plan in place NOW!

To review the suspensions go to ESPN

Related: What the Hell has Happened to College Sports?

What’s your take on this?


Share Your Thoughts: Facebooktwitterlinkedin