Friday, October 29, 2010

There is no "I" in team when it comes to Michigan State - integrity

I understand how it works. If Michigan State wins Saturday at Iowa, the controversy swirling around the football program bringing back cornerback Chris L. Rucker to the team immediately upon leaving jail will fade. If the Spartans don't win, it will be intensified.
But my point is, regardless of what happens Saturday, it's wrong, and has put an unnecessary scarlet letter on this season, which has otherwise been a source of great pride, and the university as a whole.
Rucker didn't go to jail for his DUI. He went to jail for violating his probation. He is a really good player, but clearly put himself ahead of the team. And the "team" apparently feels that is fine. It's utterly amazing Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said it is Rucker's decision whether he wants to play Saturday.
Sorry to be skeptical, but I doubt it would be the case if Rucker weren't a very good player. Same with running back Glenn Winston getting re-instated to the team so early after his release from jail last year. The Spartans needed a power back, and Winston did perform well until he was injured, but ultimately the short-term gain wasn't worth the long-term pain. Remember Rather Hall?
Same here. The message sent is that at Michigan State, football players can do whatever they want off the field - and still be able to play. Jail time? It's just like an injury. If you're a good enough player, it's out of jail garb and into a green and white uniform.
Where's athletic director Mark Hollis on this? Basketball coach Tom Izzo and Dantonio are his bosses, not the other way around. Doesn't mater what it says on the university employment structure. University president Lou Anna K Simon? Same thing. She has about as much control of the school's football and basketball programs as the librarian. They should have stepped in here, but they wouldn't dare.
There is clearly a lack of institutional control at Michigan State University in regard to its revenue-producing athletic programs.
So while the Spartans may win Saturday at Iowa, the decision to bring back Rucker is setting up the university to lose something much more important than a football game.
Integrity.

Random Thoughts

- I must admit, I was surprised the Lions-Redskins game Sunday fell so far short of a sellout. The economy is obviously still tight, but people went to the Tigers' games this past summer in good numbers, and the Red Wings are drawing OK. There are no other home football games this week among the Big Three football entities in this state. Michigan and Michigan State are on the road. Maybe it's the Halloween factor. Perhaps it's that people aren't buying into the Lions just yet. I do feel bad for the TV blackout. This is a game people, I would think, would want to see. And I believe this a game the Lions are going to win.

- I think the Rangers will win the next two games in Texas to even the World Series. I bet the Giants win when the series returns to San Francisco. I see the home team winning the first six games in the series - and a Game 7.

- Poetic justice: The Giants winning the World Series after Barry Bonds retires.

- In the no excuse department: Piston coach John Kuester not playing lottery pick Greg Monroe in the season-opener Wednesday at New Jersey. We'll see if it is different tonight.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Ryan Harp said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Dantonio say that it was up to Chris if he wanted to "travel" with the team to Iowa? To me that sounds like he most likely will not play this weekend although he will be able to cheer on his team from the sidelines. I go back and forth on this issue. He paid in jail time and was suspended for two games. I think this boils down to what does zero tolerance mean to people? Does it mean he was immediately punished and suspended two games and spent some time in jail or does it mean automatic dismissal from the team? The coach knows the situation better than anyone besides Rucker, and who knows what was done behind closed doors that the media can't see?

The other thing is I don't think we would even be having this conversation if Dantonio had said after the Michigan game that Rucker was suspended for two games pending the outcome of the legal situation or something like that. I think it also is the whole "suspended indefinitely" thing that people have an issue with....

2:15 PM 
Blogger Core Contrarian said...

Ummmm. Pat. Did you hear that Bush Sr. and Jr, are throwing out the first pitch for Game 4? Now the Rangers might win Game 3 but....

4:07 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more.

Look at all the top college coaches over the last 5-10 (actually 20) years that cheated and ran as fast as they could ... even Caroll did it recently at USC and his successor Kiffin did the same at Tennessee.

What do people remember about a coach after he's retired from coaching and hits the golf course?

How he taught his young kids to do the right thing and was totally ethical and played by the rules. (maybe some Alumni would disagree with this.)

A coach is judged by his ethics and teaching the right thing.

It's ultimately the most important thing.

The President and Athletic Director should insist on this.

It's kinda sad that winning is placed ahead of disipline and good behavior. Hey, I like winning, too!

It's called money.

5:52 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what about the next kid who drives a little tipped and just 'slightly bumps' into another car at a light? Hope the kid doesn't start ...

9:24 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dantonio is setting himself up for a great fall, if he lets that kid walk out of jail and play football. He'd be repeating the same mistake as before.

2:04 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

I hadn't thought of the angle of Poetic Justice for Bonds to be retired when the Giants win the World Series. I knew I was rooting for San Fran for a reason.

What do you think of Reneria's play?

12:11 PM 
Blogger Steve said...

Dear Michigan,
What have you done for me lately? I have prayed in church, I have wrote Santa, I have paid taxes for the last 20 years, I have donated to charitable organizations and what have you done for me Michigan?

You have given me the Detroit Lions. My entire life I have watched this team lose. You promised me change when Matt Millen was hired and things got worse. You offered me new coaches, new quarterbacks and in return I get a record breaking 0-16 record.

Dear Michigan, you gave me Detroit. I didn’t ask for it, you just gave it to me. You promised me change when Kwame Kilpatrick was hired and things got worse. Not only did the city lose residents, money and integrity it stole cash from hard working tax payers.

Dear Michigan, you gave me the auto industry. I didn’t ask for the union, you just gave it to me. I didn’t ask to pay union dues; you just took them from me. I didn’t ask for the air pollution, you just made me breathe it. I did ask to have my salary cut, you just cut it. I didn’t ask to be laid off; you just cut me like a knife.

Dear Michigan, I didn’t ask for Rich Rodriguez and neither did the University but our first three choices as new head coach did not want to come here. We didn’t ask for the scandal when he left West Virginia but like everything else that flocks to this state, it just came here. I didn’t ask for the worst 3 years in Michigan football but that’s what I’m left with.

Dear Michigan, this time I turn my eyes to MSU. Just when things are looking up for MSU, you give me an arrested player and a DUI charge. We don’t punish this player because he may actually make someone else a dollar in the state where dollars are hard to come by. Game day comes…. Hopes are high for the Sparties, the DUI is temporarily forgotten until kickoff and our doors are blown off once again, hopes driven in the ground and another disappointment in the state of disappoint.

Dear Michigan, in 4 days you offer me hopes of a new governor. You whisper in my ear that things will get better. You offer hope of a better unemployment rate, you promise jobs, you promise better roads, but the road that I and all Michiganders have been traveling on for the past 20 years just keeps on crumbling.

Dear Michigan, Dear Santa, Dear God…. Does it matter who I write? Or will this letter get torn up just as all my other hopes and dreams have??

12:40 PM 
Blogger msu1983 said...

It's a shame that you haven't been paying attention to what mark Dantonio is doing in East Lansing. He is building young men.

In situations like this, you must trust the coach to do what he thinks is best for all. Despite what most ignorant people would have you believe, it is impossible to have 'blanket' sets of rules that address all situations.

The Coach is the one that knows the player best, he knows whether that player is respectful, is a good student, is a hard worker. The coach also knows the team and, most definitely, knows the situation better than anyone.

Now if that same coach at some point starts to make decisions that seem to be in the best interest of only the coach, instead of the University, the team or the program, then you must get rid of the coach. That is not the case with Mark Dantonio.

We are 'evolving' in our society to a point where we don't just seek to punish, we want to condemn. Sad. Dantonio is a good man. Period. Unimpeachable by anyone. His only flaw is that perhaps he is too forgiving ??! Please. And I challenge anyone to suggest that he is offering second chances for selfish reasons.

Stop catering to your UM radio audience and pay close attention to what is building in East Lansing. This is not Nick Saban or George Perles who didn't care what their players did so long as they showed up and played. Dantonio's approach is more like John Wooden's in that the big picture is far greater than any Saturday football game.

And if you make any conclusions that suggest Dantonio treated Rucker simply from a football standpoint, I suggest you turn in your journalism credientials, because you clearly haven't donew any reporting on this issue, and you've merely become a sports commentator.

9:44 AM 

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