Same old Spartans.
No, I’m not talking about a football season that began with high expectations and crashed after a 1-3 start. Nor am I referring less than stellar finale backing into their bowl game after being thrashed 42-14 by Penn State.
No, the Spartans saved their best for last.
Shortly after a football team banquet a group of Spartan football players went to a fraternity party and got into an ugly altercation with some fellow students.
Dantonio dismissed two players immediately, sophomore running back Glenn Winston and junior safety Roderick Jenrette, and suspended eight other players. Campus police are still trying to identify five other suspects from the melee.
It seems like it would be easy for Dantonio to get to the bottom of the situation. Call your players and tell them that their football future at Michigan State depends on coming clean.
But that’s not how Dantonio rolls.
He hasn’t seen the surveillance video. He’s just waiting for campus police to do his dirty work for him.
And in doing so he confirms MSU’s status as little brother.
When you’re little brother it doesn’t matter how you win.
Whether a player has to mug Desmond Howard in the end zone on a two point conversion to preserve a victory or a friendly timekeeper squeezes an extra second for you to complete a comeback that’s alright.
Whatever it takes.
You don’t want to know how many of your players may have known about what their teammates were planning to do after the team banquet or how many were in attendance for the altercation. You don’t want to know if they some of them really wore ski masks or hit women during the altercation.
You’re going to a bowl!
Whatever it takes.
MSU trustee Joel Ferguson summed up the Spartan mentality when he said this week that players weren’t suspended for fighting but for lying to their coach about their involvement. He couldn’t be bothered to watch the video tape either but he sure knows what happened.
So MSU is off to the bowl game possibly with players who took an active role in the fight and more who may have known about it on advance while Dantanio stands idly by.
MSU strives to be the dominant program in the state of Michigan. And certainly the opportunity exists for that to happen. But it will requires more than just victories on the playing field. This latest incident show a lack of character not just from a number of Spartan football players but from the MSU leadership as well.
MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon released a statement that said, “The confidence I had in Mark Dantonio when we hired him has been enhanced.”
A season that began with lofty goals crashed in disappointment both on and off the field and the MSU administration feels great about Mark Dantonio.
The low standards in East Lansing have been confirmed.