Big Ten suspends Michigan's Mouton
The game officials didn't blow the whistle on Jonas Mouton. Neither did Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez.
But after further review, the Big Ten decided to suspend Mouton for one game for punching Notre Dame center Eric Olsen during Michigan's victory last week in Ann Arbor. Mouton will sit out Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan for striking Olsen following a run play with 8:42 left in the second quarter.
No penalty was called, and when asked about it Wednesday, Rodriguez said he saw no reason to discipline Mouton.
"What are you talking about?" Rodriguez told local reporters on Wednesday. "I know they were talking about one incident on film, and I didn't see anybody throw a punch or anything like that. The little bit I saw on the clip, I saw guys got tangled up together, and Jonas tried to free himself. There's a whole lot of officials out there, and I'm sure if there was an infraction, then they'd call it."
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany saw things differently and determined Mouton, a starting outside linebacker, struck Olsen and violated the league's sportslike conduct agreement. The video evidence substantiates the league's decision.
The Big Ten issued a public reprimand to Mouton, and Michigan accepted the suspension.
A Michigan spokesman told me the team had no comment on Mouton's suspension, though Rodriguez will address the issue following the Eastern Michigan game.
"The actions of Jonas Mouton during the Notre Dame game are unacceptable," Delany said in a statement. “Mouton’s behavior has no place in the sport of football or the Big Ten Conference."
The suspension isn't a huge deal, but Rodriguez's decision not to take action casts a negative light on Michigan. Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis alluded to the incident last Sunday, and Michigan reviewed the same tape as the Big Ten.
This is the first time in recent memory that the Big Ten has suspended a football player without the team doing so first. The league issues public reprimands all the time, but almost always after discipline has been handed down by the school.
Sophomores Brandon Herron and Kevin Leach likely will fill in for Mouton against Eastern Michigan.