Statement from AD Mark Hollis:
“The Big Ten has notified Michigan State of a possible sportslike conduct violation. We are in the process of completing our internal review of the matter. We are thoroughly reviewing the entire game and utilizing all of the available resources: coaches’ video from midfield and end zone cameras, TV copy as well as still photographs. Once the internal review is completed, we will forward a written report on to the Big Ten. The conference office won’t discuss a timeline for this process and neither will we.
“We will follow the proper protocol for filing our complete report and not do it in a piecemeal manner through the media.
“As an institution, we work hard at promoting good sportsmanship and I’m sure many of you are familiar with our “Raise Your Shield” campaign, encouraging our fans to honor and respect our opponents. I also know that Coach Dantonio and his staff work hard at promoting good sportsmanship. This is an isolated incident and Coach D and his staff will continue to emphasize the importance of maintaining one’s composure during the heat of the moment.
“As an AD, I take sportsmanship seriously, but it’s equally important for me to evaluate this game and the particular play in its totality.”
I've been debating with myself whether or not this is a big deal. The fact that this happened in the MSU/U-M game surely has blown it out of proportion. But it's a story enough that I figured I should post my thoughts on this once and leave it at that.
If you've been living in a cave, here are the two William Gholston plays that have been causing a stir, although MSU didn't specify which plays were in question.
The punch was to U-M's Taylor Lewan, who doesn't exactly have the best reputation from even his own teammates and had a little something for Gholston before the punch. But that by no means excuses Gholston for what he did. The punch, by the rules it appears, should have resulted in Gholston being kicked out.
But it's the facemask twist on Denard Robinson that I have the biggest problem with. Robinson was down and the play was over. That was a cheap shot. But as the coaches have said, Gholston doesn't have a history of this in his short career. He's also a sophomore and not a grown man. He has a lot of growing up to do.
Of course, if MSU commits these same penalties against Wisconsin, they won't win. But I don't expect MSU to do that. Mark Dantonio makes a point to hate U-M more than anyone else and I think it showed in the play.
Look at the best defenses in the NFL, historically. They cross the line from time to time, but that's why they're the best. It's a physical game and whoever is more physical will win (just ask Rich Rodriguez). The same U-M fans who are ripping Dantonio and MSU are cheering Ndamukong Suh on Sunday. The NFL's meanest players are also some of the best.
As Pat Narduzzi said, they want to rough up and scare the opponent, but not injure them, obviously.
Gholston should be disciplined in some form — whether he's suspended for a period of time or forced to do extra work and community service within the program. I do think the fact that this could be the marquee game of the Big Ten season will play a factor, fair or not. Yes, U-M's Jonas Mouton was suspended a game for this punch. But the next opponent was Eastern Michigan, which makes the decision a little easier.
So we'll see what happens. But one thing's for sure: This has been made into too much of a big deal and it will continue to be until it's resolved.