If you watched the No. 2 Nebraska volleyball team play No. 23 Michigan last weekend, you may have wondered why the Cornhuskers's starting setter was conspicuously absent. The answer is a little bit frightening. Lauren Cook, daughter of Nebraska head coach John Cook, had to sit out the match after a felony arrest last week for leaving the scene of an injury accident. Though the crime is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, it appears that Cook will get off with just a slap on the wrist.
Fair? You be the judge. According to reports, Cook clipped a parked motorcycle with her SUV and then kept on driving. The man on the motorcycle suffered a broken leg and the woman with him was treated for scrapes. Cook eventually stopped a few blocks away because her front tire was shredded. After allegedly calling her mom, she did the right thing and called 911 to report the accident some minutes later.
Though Cook was reportedly not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and apparently not texting at the time of the accident (around noon on Sun. Oct. 30,) she was driving on a suspended license.
In the last four years, Cook has been cited for six speeding tickets. Two were removed from her record after taking the appropriate classes. She did not complete the last set of driving classes she was ordered to take and because of that her license was suspended on Oct. 3rd. Cook was taken to jail after the accident, but was there for just three hours before she was bailed out.
In court on Tuesday, she apologized for her actions and is now being considered for something called "pretrial diversion," a Nebraska program for first-time offenders. If she is accepted into the program, she will have the felony removed from her record in exchange for taking responsibility for the crime and completing community service.
Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne has already stated that she will be re-instated to the volleyball team if she is accepted into the program, which could happen as early as the end of this week. Osborne was quoted as saying that the University is “trying to make sure she's treated like every other student would be treated.”
The speed at which this case is humming through the system says differently as do the charges Cook is facing thus far. Authorities could have also charged Cook with driving with a suspended license, but those charges have not yet been filed. Cook's license will be suspended for the entire length of the pretrial diversion program.
In her absence, senior setter Brigette Root got her first ever start against Michigan and led the Cornhuskers to a 3-1 win with a solid performance. The next night, she led the team to a 3-0 victory over Michigan State. Their next big match up will be against Purdue this Saturday night. It is unclear whether or not Lauren will be back in time to play in that match.
This time, she’ll need to refrain from getting caught behind the wheel. If she makes another mistake, the pretrial diversion will be rescinded and she will be prosecuted. She won’t be the first Nebraska athlete to blow a chance at a clean record. Back in 2007, football receiver Maurice Purify was arrested for assaulting a bouncer and his girlfriend after being denied entry to a bar. Purify was enrolled in the pretrial diversion program when he was caught driving under the influence just five weeks later.
It looks as if the Cornhuskers are in good hands with back up setter Root. But with only three weeks remaining in the regular season and playoffs looming, Nebraska will need to get this case resolved quickly in order to get their starting setter back in time to contend for the national title.
What do you think? Does Lauren Cook's proposed punishment fit the crime? Let us know by voting in the poll.