Good evening. You probably don’t care what I’m doing, but I’ll tell you anyway. I found out Robert Barber was expelled for his role in a fight this summer, poured a glass of bourbon, put the bourbon away, looked at my glass, got the bourbon back out and poured some more. That’s where this season has taken me, and probably many of you.
According to the Spokesman Review’s Jacob Thorpe, the University Conduct Board investigated the fight that took place over the summer, at which a student’s jaw was broken. Although the Pullman Police Department has yet to conclude its investigation, the board ruled that Barber was culpable enough to warrant expulsion.
The final portion of the process is the appeal. From Thorpe’s story:
The office of student conduct does have a limited appeals process, in which the student has 21 days to submit an appeal in writing that contests the decision on the grounds the initial hearing was unfair, was based on insubstantial information, that the resulting sanctions were inappropriate, or if new information becomes available.
While the appeals process plays out, Barber will be allowed to practice and play.
Athletic director Bill Moos confirmed that Barber will appeal, saying “I think they are in the process.”
So how does this impact WSU? It’s hard to say what is affected more, the attitude in the locker room or the product on the field. Needless to say, the timing of this is quite poor considering that even ESPN is paying attention to the seeming divide between the football team and the Pullman Police Department. I don’t think there is any chance that the players are able to focus like they normally do.
On the field, it is just as bad or worse. WSU is basically one-deep at nose tackle, and that guy might be forced to leave school at some point in the near future. WSU isn’t exactly deep at the other line positions either. After the bye comes Oregon. In case you hadn’t heard, they can run the ball a little. Again from Thorpe’s story:
The only other WSU defensive lineman weighing over 300 pounds is backup nose tackle Ngalu Tapa, who played sparingly in each of WSU’s first two games but has yet to record a tackle. Defensive ends Hercules Mata’afa and Daniel Ekuale do each have experience sliding inside from their outside positions at times.
As far as how this whole process has played out, you’ll excuse me if I think it’s more than a little dubious that a couple students and a few professors are allowed to play judge and jury in the absence of any legal proceedings or criminal charges whatsoever. The people who are professionally trained to flesh out who did what to whom still haven’t concluded anything. Meanwhile, a group of people who have no training whatsoever can weigh in and prevent a fifth-year senior from graduating.
In the meantime, pour yourself a glass of bourbon, a beer, a Coke Zero, an Arnold Palmer or whatever you choose to quaff on a fall evening. While you’re at it, try to enjoy what should be a win this weekend. If the sky hasn’t opened up yet, the clouds are certainly gathering in the western sky.