Michigan Suspensions of Fitzgerald Toussaint and Frank Clark Harsh But Warranted

The Michigan Wolverines football team took a big, self-induced hit yesterday, and it will hinder their chances of beating Alabama later today.

Still, it was the right decision.

Brady Hoke elected to suspend running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and defensive end Frank Clark for Saturday’s showdown against the defending national champion.

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Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint will miss Saturday’s showdown with Alabama. (Image by US Presswire via CBSSports.com)

Toussaint recently pled guilty to operating a vehicle while visually impaired (blood alcohol level was over the legal limit), while Clark has been charged with second-degree home invasion.

Clark is a rotational defensive end, so his impact may not be game-changing. Toussaint, however, is a huge loss for Brady Hoke and company, as he rushed for over 1,000 yards with 9 touchdowns last season. That was despite not really taking full control of the starting running back position until the fifth or sixth game either.

By suspending Toussaint, Michigan is putting any hopes of a National Championship appearance, everyone’s public opinion of the legitimacy of the team, and maybe even the Heisman hopes of Denard Robinson (I think regardless of how well he plays, winning this game is a must for him to win the Trophy) on the line.

What do I have to say about that? It’s about time.

The current landscape in colleges today is obvious: sports are king. It’s an environment where multiple favors and passes are given to these young, talented athletes in order to keep the prestige up for these programs. It’s refreshing to see a sports program put the credibility of its parent institution above its own interest in wins and losses.

Sure, there may have been other ways around this, ways to punish Toussaint while keeping him on the field against Alabama. However, what kind of message would that send?

I’m not questioning the fact that the main reason Toussaint is at Michigan is to play football, not get an education (again, today’s college sports landscape), but the job of the University of Michigan or any other college in this country is to shape their students for the future. Would suspending Toussaint for a different game, rather than the highly anticipated Alabama game make him think twice about making that mistake again? I really doubt it.

So kudos to Michigan and Brady Hoke, as they realized the bigger picture in this situation: that Toussaint is a young kid who needs some discipline.

As a die-hard Michigan fan, I realize that it makes the chances of beating Alabama very slim. However, there are more important things in life than football.

Fitzgerald Toussaint likely need a good ol’ smack in the back of the head, not just a slap on the wrist. He should thank his coach for having the integrity to give it to him.



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