Its a pretty common theme these days, star player gets in trouble, fans (mostly opposing) scream for his suspension, coach decides to handle things "internally", player plays. Inevitable outcry ensues. Opposing fans declare the coach is immoral, the star player is an awful person, the media and fans (again, opposing) remain in disbelief that the coach would ever make winning more important than teaching players a lesson.
Frankly, who can blame the coach?
Sports, on every level, is a multi-billion dollar industry with the teams winning the most get the largest chunk of that money. Coaches aren't paid millions of dollars to teach young men right and wrong, or uphold the standards of higher learning. They're paid all that money to bring in even more money. Coaches are paid for one thing, to win. That's the bottom line. As a bonus, schools are hoping that the coach doesn't embarrass them too much in the process. They do have the facade as institutions of higher learning to uphold.
I bring this up with the recent news that Steve Sarkisian has done the honorable thing and gone ahead and suspended Austin-Sefarian Jenkins for Saturday's game against Boise St. Of course, due to his surgery and "unknown" time out, the real reason for this suspension seems a little too obvious*. This suspension in particular seems a bit too well-timed given that another healthy star player, Kasen Williams, appears to be playing Saturday after having a run in with the law this summer. WSU and Boise fans will be up high on our collective pedestals of higher morality and declare Sarkisian a slimeball. UW fans will in turn applaud the courage of their coach to suspend their star.
Sarkisian has won 7 games for the last couple years, Husky fans are getting restless, his $2+ million dollar paycheck is on the line and his future at UW would become that much more murky if they lose this weekend to Boise St. Would you blame him for not caring about a little bad press and playing ASJ if that helped them win? I wouldn't, not even a little bit.
I use this example solely because it will likely be a big story on this opening weekend of the college football season. There are countless examples of other coaches doing the exact thing for players. LSU's Les Miles doesn't let a little bar fight or multiple failed drug tests get in the way of big games. While at Florida, Urban Meyer saw nearly quarter of his players get arrested and still managed to have enough to win a National Championship. WSU isn't alone in this area either. Deangelo Casto was allowed to play in a NIT tournament game after being pardoned by President Floyd on the basis that he was unfairly treated by Pullman Police (I never saw anything disputing the fact that he was in violation of team rules, only how it was discovered).
The money in sports is only increasing, coaches salaries go up every year, and the pressure to win goes up accordingly. Once you see coaches no longer being fired as soon as they stop winning, or a rather large (monetary) award set up for coaches and teams who display the highest of morals (lol seriously?) don't count on any of this changing anytime soon.
Just hope that your team doesn't have anyone get in trouble and can stay on their podium. Because as soon as it happens, we're all going to be looking for reasons to play the star player in the big game.
*The article mentioning his suspension also says he had recently been cleared to play, looking for something else previous to this article backing this claim. Again, fishy at best.