Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SEC [Print without images]

Sunday, December 12, 2010
Kentucky's Hartline suspended for bowl

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Kentucky coach Joker Phillips is obviously giving more than just lip service to player discipline.

Phillips has suspended senior quarterback Mike Hartline for the BBVA Compass Bowl following Hartline's arrest early Friday morning on second-degree disorderly conduct and public intoxication charges. Sophomore Morgan Newton will likely replace Hartline as Kentucky's starting quarterback in the bowl game.

This is not the way anyone wanted or expected Hartline's career to end. He had an excellent senior season with 3,178 passing yards and 23 touchdowns, far and away the best season of his career. He'd also emerged as one of the team's strongest leaders.

So to see his career end this way is a downer for everybody associated with the Big Blue Nation.

But Phillips, in his first season as the Wildcats' coach, is making a resounding statement about the way he's going to run his program. In short, he doesn't care who you are or what your value is to the team. If you embarrass the program and/or don't live up to the standards he expects from his players, then you're not going to play.

Give Phillips credit for sticking to his core values and having the courage to do what he thinks is best for the program. A lot of coaches would have hidden behind the old "We'll handle the discipline internally" and would have played Hartline.