McGloin's status for PSU bowl uncertain

December, 19, 2011
12/19/11
1:30
PM ET
The significant news story from Penn State on Monday is that starting quarterback Matthew McGloin could miss the TicketCity Bowl because of a concussion suffered in Saturday's locker-room fight with teammate Curtis Drake.

McGloin confirmed he was knocked out after his head hit the floor of the locker room. The junior said he suffered a concussion and a seizure. He hasn't been cleared to practice and will undergo further testing. McGloin accepted full responsibility for the fight, which took place after he and Drake had been jawing during Saturday's practice in State College.

Penn State interim coach Tom Bradley said both McGloin and Drake will be disciplined internally. University police and the Office of Judicial Affairs also are investigating the incident.

"As a quarterback for this university, I should be held to a higher standard," McGloin said. "It should not have happened. ... I'm going to take responsibility for it. It was immature. It was ill-timed."

No one will argue with McGloin's last point. After all Penn State has been through in the past six weeks, the program certainly didn't need its starting quarterback getting involved in a situation like Saturday's at this time.

But let's also make something clear: McGloin's injury and uncertain status for the bowl game is the story that matters. The fight itself is hardly unusual. Scuffles like Saturday's take place all the time with football teams. They don't usually involve the starting quarterback and don't usually result in a player going to the hospital. But they happen. We accept that they're part of the sport and often play them up as a sign of a team's passion and fight.

I did it this spring when writing of Penn State's spring practice, "If Penn State gets through a workout without a scrap or two breaking out, it feels like something's wrong."

The easy and lazy approach is to link Saturday's incident to some sort of larger problem for a Penn State program that has dealt with tremendous scrutiny since the sex-abuse scandal broke. The McGloin-Drake fight, you'll undoubtedly hear folks say, is the breaking point for a program being held together by threads. You'll hear that things are falling apart in State College.

Let's instead call it what it is: a locker-room scuffle that ended badly for McGloin.

"If you’ve ever been a part of a sports team, you know what happened Saturday is not that big of a deal," Penn State safety Drew Astorino told ESPN.com "It's unfortunate Matt got a little hurt. He's fine now, but that kind of stuff just happens. Just because of our situation, it's been blown up so much."

Added running back Silas Redd: "Fights happen more often than people know on a football team. An unwritten rule is that once you leave the field, things are kind of squashed. It wasn't the case this time, but we're still focused."

The focus going forward should be whether McGloin is cleared to practice or play and what type of discipline comes down from Bradley and Penn State. Redd told ESPN.com on Monday that McGloin "probably won't be able to play," but offensive lineman Chima Okoli was more optimistic about a possible McGloin return.

Another issue sure to be grouped in with Penn State's other, bigger problems is backup quarterback Rob Bolden being cited for retail theft after taking a Gatorade bottle from a campus convenience store Friday. Bolden returned the bottle unopened in what Bradley described as a prank. Bradley said Bolden will be disciplined internally but won't face any playing-time penalties.

Yes, it was a lousy weekend for Penn State quarterbacks, although we learned Monday that Paul Jones could be available for the bowl game if he's academically cleared.

Are these signs of a team falling apart? Highly doubt it. It's fair to question the team's mood and how motivated the Lions will be in the bowl game after being passed over by several others.

But to link the McGloin-Drake fight and the Bolden prank with the much more significant issues Penn State is dealing with right now seems like overkill.

One more bit of Penn State news:

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