Suspensions should not include exhibition games

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I have a lot of pet peeves when it comes to college basketball.

I
don’t like the amount of roster turnover every year. I hate that there
is no block/charge circle. Can someone change the recruiting rules that
focus on the insignificant while doing nothing about the flagrant
cheating? Is John Calipari really going to land every single recruit he
sets his sights on?

But you know what really grinds my gears?

Early
season suspensions. Specifically, the early season suspensions where a
coach announces a player will miss X number of games, only
for us to find out that includes one or two exhibition games. And we
all know how little exhibition games matter, right Matt?

The
latest example comes from Michigan State. Korie Lucious got a DUI over
the summer, a charge that was reduced to, essentially, reckless driving. Lucious deserves to be suspended, if
nothing else to drive home the point that drinking and then getting
behind the wheel of a car is unacceptable regardless of how low your
BAC is.

Izzo announced the suspension this week. Two games.
But what you don’t realize when reading that title that one of those
games was the exhibition the Spartans played last night against Saginaw
Valley State. He will also miss the season opener, and just the season
opener, meaning that he will be out of action for one exhibition and
one real game.

Can we please just refer to this as a one game
suspension from now on? Or a one game and one exhibition suspension?
Calling this a two game suspension is misleading and, I would argue, incorrect.

(For what its
worth, I don’t necessarily disagree with the length of the Lucious
suspension. I think a one game suspension for getting a DUI where you
blow .09 is fair, and I’m willing to bet that Lucious would have sat
out another two games to avoid the cardiovascular punishment he’s
likely facing at the end of practices. Hey, at least he will be in
shape, right?)

Izzo’s use of this play on words is far from the worse this offseason.

Preston
Knowles got into a scuffle with his girlfriend’s stepfather this
summer. He was arrested. His punishment? Rick Pitino announced that it
would be a two game suspension. Read deeper, and he will miss two exhibition games,
but will likely be reinstated once the regular season starts. Tre’Von
Willis allegedly choked his girlfriend. The charges were reduced, but
he still received a 90 day suspended sentence and 100 hours of
community service. His punishment from Kruger? Three games, which includes two exhibition games. Which means Willis only will miss one real game.

But
the headlines will read that Willis got a three game suspension, which
is a more severe punishment than a one game suspension. Can we end this
practice? Like, now?

Fudging the numbers makes Kruger and Izzo and Pitino look like they are laying down the law.

You’re not fooling me, fellas.