The Michigan State Spartans are set to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Jan. 2 Valero Alamo Bowl. However, the announcement of the bowl comes a day after Dantonio gave a news conference that announced the 8 eight players currently suspended would not play in the bowl game.
At that press conference Dantonio said;
“To me, bowl games are a reward. They are a reward for our football team, and they are a reward for our fans, as well. The opportunity to play on this football team and the opportunity to play in a bowl game is a privilege. It’s not a right. With that said, all those present there at the incident in question will remain on indefinite suspension and will not make the trip, or play in the bowl game and that will be for obviously violating team rules at this point. ”
The eight players were suspended from the team after they were identified as being at the scene of an assault on Nov. 22 in Rather Hall. No formal charges have been filed and the investigation is ongoing.
The players suspended include: sophomore wide receiver B.J. Cunningham, junior cornerback Chris L. Rucker, junior running back Ashton Legget, junior wide receiver Mark Dell, sophomore wide receiver Fred Smith, Redshirt freshman linebacker Brynden Trawick, sophomore defensive tackle Ishmyl Johnson and redshirt freshman linebacker Jamiihr Williams.
All the players, except Williams, have seen field play for the Spartans. Rucker, Cunningham and Dell are regular starters for the Spartans.
On campus people are reacting to the idea that the Spartans will be traveling to Texas without the suspended players. Most students are excited about the Spartans’ Bowl game, and understand Dantonio’s decision.
“We have a great bowl game for being a 6-6 team,” said mechanical engineer sophomore Tim Carroll who also agrees with Dantonio’s decision. “Dantonio had to suspend the players, because they did something stupid. We brought him here to discipline our players and that is what he is doing.”
Zoology sophomore Sammy Pawlowski said she is just excited that the Spartans are heading to a bowl game this year. “I think it is going to be a tough game, especially without three of our good starters. I am sorry that they won’t be there, but they don’t really deserve to go. Dantonio is right to not let them go,” said Pawlowski.
“My initial reaction was that it was necessary because when we hired him his big selling point was discipline,” said mechanical engineer sophomore Nick Mergener. “If he just let them come back what would that say to the rest of the team? For now I am trying to stay positive.”
MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon released a statement on Dec. 5 that supported Dantonio’s decision. “I support Mark’s integrity-based leadership and I support the unwavering high football program standards that he will not allow to be put at risk,” said Simon.
Do you think the Spartans will be able to top Texas Tech? Do you think Dantonio is right to suspend the players? Are you excited for some post season action!?!!?! (I AM!)