I have read many things about these latest suspensions on the message boards and other blogs and I think there’s a pretty big misconception out there regarding exactly who can and does disciplines a school’s football players. The only thing the NCAA can do is yank eligibility from a player, not suspend him for games.
The other point in error is that the internal discipline is already set as team rules i.e. if a player misses a practice for no valid reason it is a one-game suspension etc… (as an example).
This hasn’t been the case that Pitt before Pat Narduzzi and I don’t believe that’s changed since then… at least it sounds weird to me if it’s true. I doubt it is.
Unless I am wrong on what this is, and things could have changed at Pitt, but through my research the only thing I can find that the NCAA can apply to a university student athlete is a “Loss of Eligibility” – not game suspensions. I have a link here that will help with that I think.
Look at the Summary of Regulations in the link above.
On the other hand I have not ever heard of Pitt having a mandated or set X amount of games suspension for a certain type of incident. Unless something has changed it is always been at the discretion of the head coach with input from the athletic director.
From my conversations with people at Pitt over the years it has been up to the head coach, with input from the position coaches, and the athletic department to determine how many games a player is suspended for what infraction.
As I said I don’t think the NCAA has any play in this matter at all… Game suspensions awarded is a totally internal thing with Pitt. NCAA isn’t involved unless it is a failed NCAA drug test ( automatic one-year loss of eligibility) or lack of meeting the eligibility requirements set by the NCAA (academics or amateurism).
That’s the only time the NCAA would get involved.
On a personal note I think if you don’t have leeway in what kind of discipline you will award as the head coach then you’re shirking your leadership duties. You don’t leave discipline up to the players you are leading… you do it yourself and you do it based on different circumstances and different levels of threat to the team unity and cohesion. Some coaches are tough, some aren’t, but the school knows that when they hire him.
So when we see Whitehead and Wirginis’ getting three games and Bookser are getting one game it all depends on what Pat Narduzzi thought about what Whitehead did as opposed to the rather dramatic, I thought actions, Bookser did in his DUI.
It will be very interesting to find out exactly what the details are about Wirginis, Whitehead and Blair’s misdeeds.
If I find that the information above has changed or is wrong I will let you guys know right away.