Big Ten: Derrick Fox

Suspended Spartans won't go bowling

December, 5, 2009
12/05/09
2:23
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The bad news continues for Michigan State, which will be without eight suspended players for its upcoming bowl game.

Head coach Mark Dantonio told reporters today that the eight players won't be traveling or playing in a bowl, and neither will any other players identified by police as being present during a Nov. 22 fight at a residence hall. Dantonio already has dismissed running back Glenn Winston and safety Roderick Jenrette.

The group of suspended players includes starting wide receivers Mark Dell and B.J. Cunningham, starting cornerback Chris L. Rucker and running back Ashton Leggett, who has played more down the stretch. Police have found 10 suspects in the incident, and are trying to identify five more.

"The opportunity to play on this football team and in a bowl game is a privilege, and not a given right," Dantonio said. "With that said, all those present at the incident in question will remain on indefinite suspension and will not make the trip nor play in the bowl game."



Michigan State could be going to either the Valero Alamo Bowl or the Insight Bowl if the Big Ten sends two teams to BCS bowls, as many project. Alamo Bowl CEO Derrick Fox told ESPN.com this week that the ongoing investigation into the fight at Michigan State could impact the selection.

"It's something you certainly factor in," Fox said. "It's really just a matter of trying to find out, 'Is 10 [players] the max? Will 10 actually become six? Will some get reinstated, or will this become 40?' Because then, obviously, it can make an impact on the overall thing."

Alamo Bowl tracking MSU situation

December, 2, 2009
12/02/09
5:30
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Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis still expects to accept a bowl invitation this weekend despite the recent dismissals and suspensions that could leave the Spartans football team without 10 players, and possibly more.

The Spartans dismissed two players and suspended eight others in the wake of a Nov. 22 fight at a residence hall. Michigan State police have identified 10 suspects -- the school isn't calling the players suspects, only confirming they were present during the fight -- and still are trying to identify five more.

Among those keeping close tabs on the situation is Derrick Fox, the president and CEO of the Valero Alamo Bowl. If the Big Ten sends two teams to BCS bowl, as many expect, the Alamo Bowl would decide whether to select Michigan State or Minnesota for its Jan. 2 game. The team not selected would go to the Insight Bowl, which picks after Alamo.

Michigan State informed Fox of the situation Tuesday, and Fox expected to talk with Hollis at some point on Wednesday.

"There's an investigation going on, so there's only so much we're really privy to," Fox told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "But from the standpoint of being aware of the situation as best we can, that's all we can ask. You have to give [Michigan State] credit for taking action and being as proactive as they have been so far, and we'll see where it goes from there."

The investigation likely will conclude after the bowl selections are made, but Fox wants to get an accurate sense of the impact it could have on Michigan State for a postseason game.

"It's something you certainly factor in," Fox said. "It's really just a matter of trying to find out, 'Is 10 [players] the max? Will 10 actually become six? Will some get reinstated, or will this become 40?' Because then, obviously, it can make an impact on the overall thing."

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

January bowl games definitely don't mean what they used to, but there's still a certain prestige to playing a game in the new year. 

Another Big Ten team will get that privilege in 2010 in the Alamo Bowl, which will be played in January for the first time in its history. The 2010 game will take place Jan. 2 (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET) at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

"This year's calendar has provided us an excellent prime time Saturday time slot that will allow the Valero Alamo Bowl to reach a wide audience," Alamo Bowl president/CEO Derrick Fox said in a statement. "The January 2 date should also work well for people traveling to the game as they can celebrate Christmas at home and then spend a long weekend ringing in the New Year in San Antonio." 

Each of the previous 17 Alamo Bowls have taken place between Dec. 28-31. Last year's Alamo Bowl between Northwestern and Missouri ranked as the 10th most-watched bowl game in ESPN history.

The date change means the Big Ten is guaranteed to have four teams playing in January bowl games (Outback, Capital One, Alamo, Rose), more than any other FBS conference.  

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