Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Explain the math, please

You've probably seen this video, but Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton threw a sort of slap-punch last Saturday at the chin of Notre Dame center Eric Olsen after Olsen dove at him to throw a late block. Both players walked away and no flags were thrown. It appeared to be a non-issue.

Charlie Weis complained, Rich Rodriguez said he didn't see anything, and it all ended with the Big Ten announcing Friday afternoon that Mouton had been suspended for Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan.

My question: When did the Big Ten become the arbiter of on-field conduct -- especially for nonconference games -- and why did they wait until Friday afternoon to suspend somebody for a game that was set to take place less than 24 hours later?

It was bad enough that the walk-on who was thrown in as Mouton's replacement (Kevin Leach) got no practice reps whatsoever with UM's first-team defense, but the Big Ten shouldn't have been involved at all. Mouton's "punch" was incredibly minor compared with the famous James Kamoku leg-twisting incident that completely escaped punishment or Robert Reynolds' choking of Jim Sorgi that was left in the hands of Ohio State, and any disciplinary action should have been up to Rodriguez.

Brian at Mgoblog digs up this interesting response from just last year -- when former Michigan tight end (and lunatic) Carson Butler was ejected from the Notre Dame game after a much more blatant punch -- and compares it with the Mouton situation:
"Later in the day, though, a Michigan sports information official was told by the Big Ten that Butler was flagged for a flagrant foul and will not face an automatic suspension. If Butler had been ejected for fighting, he would have been suspended from the first half of the team's next game."

The math here: ejection for fighting = 1/2 of next game. Ejection for flagrant foul = no suspension. Act that should have drawn a flag — not an ejection — but didn't = 1 game.
In other words, a slap is twice as bad as getting ejected for fighting, and the Big Ten has decided this arbitrarily with no precedent whatsoever.

I’d have been pissed if I was Rodriguez or Mouton, and RichRod was 100% correct to call out Jim Delaney and publicly demand that these situations are treated equally in the future. You can’t make up rules as you go along and apply them whenever it’s convenient just to placate Charlie Weis (who, last I checked, was not even the coach of a Big Ten team).

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