Wednesday, October 19, 2011

LSU accelerates its suspensions like whoa

This seems moderately significant:
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Top-ranked LSU has suspended star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and running back Spencer Ware for Saturday's home game against Auburn, a school official told's Mark Schlabach.

A source told The Associated Press that defensive back Tharold Simon is also suspended and that the players ran afoul of the team's drug policy. The source did not specify the drug for which the players tested positive.
Initial reaction: That's HUGE, all caps. Not because of the Auburn game -- LSU was favored by 22 points (!) before the suspensions and should still win by two touchdowns -- but because SEC West Armageddon is next on the schedule, with only a bye week in between. Anything beyond a one-game suspension would be devastating, and while "ran afoul of the team's drug policy" is extremely (and probably intentionally) vague, it sounds ... umm ... not good.

So is it bad that I immediately assumed both Ware and Mathieu would be suspended "indefinitely" but then reinstated during the bye week? Joe Schad says no:
The suspensions are only for one game, a source told ESPN's Joe Schad.
Grumble SEC grumble ethics grumble grumble.

What I find particularly interesting is that this report from last year shows LSU's drug-test policy as the following:
  • First failed test: No suspension
  • Second failed test: Suspended for 15 percent of that season's games
  • Third failed test: Suspended for one year
Translation: If this was the first failed test for both, LSU went above and beyond its documented policy by suspending them for a game. If you're as skeptical as me and find that unlikely, it's worth noting that 15 percent of 13 games (which is the minimum since LSU is already bowl-eligible) is 1.95. I'm not John Nash or anything, but 1.95 is basically 2. If this was their second failed test, they should be sitting against Alabama. They won't be, but we'll never know exactly what that means.

Skepticism aside, I'd obviously rather see those guys on the field. There's not an iota of doubt in my mind that LSU and Alabama are two of the three best teams in the country this year, and you can't just subtract one team's most consistent/reliable offensive threat and its in-ur-base-taking-ur-ball defensive back and call it a fair fight. I like my teams evenly matched and fully manned, dammit.

So consider this a PSA to the relevant people: Don't do anything stupid (or anything else stupid) between now and November 5.


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