As of this writing, no word has emerged yet on how Purdue coach Matt Painter will discipline Byrd.
If you were the Purdue coach, how would you punish Byrd?
A few facts to consider:
- This is Byrd’s first disciplinary issue to my knowledge.
- Last year, Kelsey Barlow was suspended for the NCAA Tournament, presumably for a marijuana offense.
- Byrd has been playing very well of late, scoring in double digits in each of Purdue’s last five games, including 20 or more in two of the last three.
- Purdue is on the NCAA Tournament bubble at 17-9. Three of their final five games are against #8 Michigan State, #19 Michigan, and #20 Indiana.
Here are my thoughts on the issue:
Among the offenses that a college athlete can commit, public intox is rather low on my list of egregiousness. It is, however, extremely high on my list of are you an idiot? offenses.
It’s just stupid. Downright stupid. Especially for someone in Byrd’s position.
And Byrd should be punished for his stupidity, both to discipline him and to send a message to the rest of the team. So as much as it will hurt to not have him against Michigan State on Sunday, I think Painter has to sit Byrd for that game. It’s a big punishment to the player and the team, but stupid is as stupid does, and this level of abject stupidity earns a suspension. It’s just bad timing that such a huge game looms next on the schedule.
Then I’d probably run Bryd into the ground with punishment laps/suicides/stairs for the rest of the season. Since missing the Michigan State game punishes he and the team, he needs a little extra that punishes just him. That’ll do the trick.
But that’s it.
There is no need to vilify the kid for doing anything more than making a dumb decision, a really dumb decision (unless, of course, this is a pattern that we don’t know about publicly, then all bets are off). But Byrd didn’t get into a fight on the court, he didn’t cheat on a test, he’s not academically ineligible, he’s not running a drug dealing ring, he didn’t abuse a woman, etc, etc.
He’s a college student who went out to drink on a Thursday night and got popped for being drunk in public. It happens. It’s stupid, especially for a big time college athlete to do it, but it happens. It’s not a blight on his character, just a blight on his common sense and judgment.
So I say sit Byrd for the Michigan State game, run his ass into the ground privately, and then move on. Maybe it’s a lesson he needed to learn, and now he’ll learn it. And that’s part of what going to college is all about.
Update: I should add that I reserve the right to change my mind on this depending on what details emerge. I doubt I’d consider any stronger punishment, but details in cases like these are important, so perhaps something will come along that exonerates Byrd a bit. Boiler or not, I hate seeing hard-playing college players get themselves into pickles like these with silly, dumb decisions. So I’m hoping for the best for him.
What would you do to him? Vote and comment below.