Rittenberg answers why the Big Ten started suspending players

Submitted by Glitchbox on September 24th, 2009 at 4:19 PM

First message board post, I don't know if this is worthy or not, but Rittenberg recently answered my question in chat.

Me: Has the Big Ten always handed out suspensions? Or if this is the first year, do you know why they started?

Adam Rittenberg: I talked to Jim Delany the night after the LeGarrette Blount punch, and it was clear that what happened in Boise got the attention of everyone in college football. Sportsmanship and conduct are major points of emphasis, and you're seeing it play out with these suspensions. What seems a little different is the Big Ten is coming down harder than the teams are. Michigan wasn't even going to suspend Jonas Mouton. Purdue was going to suspend Zach Reckman for a quarter. The Big Ten suspended both for a full game.



September 24th, 2009 at 4:24 PM ^

why the conference started suspending people. The mechanisms have been in place for years to deal with these kind of issues. I don't see the LeGarrette Blount incident as a sufficient reason to drastically alter the conference's role in these situations.


September 24th, 2009 at 5:13 PM ^

Yeah I don't buy it either. The reason the Blount thing got so much play is because it was on a Thursday, on national TV, with no other significant games on at the time, on college football's opening weekend. What Blount actually did was nothing compared to FIU-Miami or South Carolina-Clemson.

If something like the Blount Punch were to happen in a Big Ten game it would get far less (ie normal) coverage because non-Saturday games are exceedingly rare for the Big Ten. The conference combines for two this year.

In addition, Blount's suspension was handled completely by Oregon, as in, no Pac 10. How that situation would provide the impetus for Delany to rethink the role of the conference in regards to discipline issues is completely beyond me.

Taking that supposed impetus and extending it's reach beyond severe discipline issues like the Blount punch to relatively common incidents like the Mouton "punch" and the Purdue elbow only builds on this incoherence.

And if this had been the league's stance since the Blount punch why didn't we hear about it? Wouldn't the teams be informed of this? They didn't seem to be.


September 24th, 2009 at 4:39 PM ^

Big ten officials were frightened when Charlie Wise threatened to eat their families if action wasn't taken, when he realized he was too busy eating in the final 3 minutes of the M game to make a legitimate play call, he needed a scapegoat Then just for assurance their families wouldn't be eaten they threw in a Purdue suspension to lighten the load.


September 24th, 2009 at 4:41 PM ^

... a follow up question: Did he hear a slurping sound in the background when he's talking to Delany? That's a telltale sign that a certain someone is telling Delany what to do.

I also don't understand why Mouton's punishment was handed out on Thursday while the Purdue's punishment was handed out on Wednesday.


September 24th, 2009 at 4:42 PM ^

Unquestionably, that is part of the answer. The Blount situation put this issue high on the list of things everyone is watching for this year. But I question whether the Big Ten would have stepped in if LC or Bo was the coach. You might say that LC or Bo are more likely to have done something internally, but we don't know what they would have done if anything. And I bet the Big Ten would have given LC and Bo more benefit of the doubt than they gave RR. They earned that with their reputations for fair play and discipline. RR is still seen as an outsider/unknown commodity in the Big Ten and he is going to get a higher level of scrutiny for awhile, until everyone decides he is really "one of us".


September 24th, 2009 at 5:30 PM ^

I doubt Lloyd, Bo, or Rich would even be aware of the incident if a certain morbidly obese, whiny, head coach hadn't called attention to it. After all the hub-bub started about the "punch", I went back through the game to see the play in real-time and it's nothing. I actually missed it the first time I watched the sequence. The announcers don't even mention it. I said it on a previous thread, but I can't believe Delany is letting Weis influence Big 10 policy on stuff like this.

Section 1

September 24th, 2009 at 6:05 PM ^

Adam Rittenberg might be pleased and proud that he is given access to Jim Delany at all ("I talked to Jim Delany the night after...), but it doesn't really explain anything.

Did Jim Delany then say anything to the Big Ten coaches, after Oregon-BSU, and before M v. ND? If the Oregon-BSU fight was such an important event to Delanay and the the Big Ten, where was the memo, the announcement, etc.? There was nothing until the Charlie Weis complaint.

And why the frankly odd process with Mouton? No word about any review, investigation, etc., until a surprise Thursday-night suspension.

No, I don't think Rittenberg or Delany have made any sense out of this story, and I think that clearly we have not heard the last of this, and that this "policy," such as it is, WILL be a cause for cotroversy again before the end of the season. Ther will be another marginal incident, and the Big Ten will have to make a hard call that will leave everyone angry.

Guaranteed; the Big Ten will enact some sort of "policy refinement" at the end of the year. Meaning, "Yeah, we kind of screwed up and cornered ourselves with the Mouton suspension, and we just had to play out the string in 2009 to get through the football season, trying to be as consistent as possible. Now, we've got to try to think about creating a real, serious policy."