Big Ten suspends Purdue's Reckman for late hit
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The Big Ten has suspended its second football player in six days, providing more evidence of the league's hardline stance on player conduct this season.
Purdue offensive lineman Zach Reckman received a one-game suspension from the league for a late hit on Northern Illinois' Sean Progar last week at Ross-Ade Stadium. Reckman lowered his shoulder and speared a sliding Progar after Progar had secured a Purdue lateral attempt on the final play of Northern Illinois' 28-21 victory.
Reckman, the Boilermakers' starting left guard, will sit out Saturday's game against Notre Dame (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET). The Big Ten ruled that Reckman violated a league agreement prohibiting "striking or attempting to strike or otherwise physically abusing an official, opposing coach, spectator or athlete," and issued him a public reprimand.
“We appreciate Purdue’s and head coach Danny Hope’s attention to this issue and feel a one-game suspension is appropriate,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. "The behavior of Zach Reckman at the end of the Northern Illinois game is unacceptable and could have triggered a larger incident."Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke contacted the Big Ten about the play Sunday after talking with Hope, and Hope decided to suspend Reckman for the first quarter of the Notre Dame game.
But the Big Ten went with a harsher penalty.
“We talked with our guys before the game about maintaining their composure, and Zach made a mistake,” Hope said in a statement released Thursday. “But I know Zach and firmly believe that he would not attempt anything of a malicious nature. Morgan and I agreed that a one-quarter suspension would be appropriate in this case, and that is what we presented to the Big Ten. They saw it differently, and we have to live with their decision.”Asked about the play on Sunday, Hope said he didn't think Reckman's play was "all that vicious."
"I don't think Zach Reckman should've jumped in there on that guy at the end of the play but maybe he was hoping the ball would come out," Hope said Sunday. "He was trying to find a way to win."
The Big Ten suspended Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton for last week's game after he punched Notre Dame center Eric Olsen on Sept. 12. Like Reckman, Mouton didn't draw a penalty.
Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez, who wasn't going to suspend Mouton before the league stepped in, said he would be watching every Big Ten closely to find similar instances of non-football acts. Rodriguez said Monday that he had seen an example during last weekend's games but didn't specify the play.
Junior Justin Pierce is listed as Reckman's backup at left guard on Purdue's depth chart.