Monday, September 28, 2009

COLEMAN SUSPENDED BY BIG TEN; SMITH, TRESSEL ISSUE STATEMENT

Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Ohio State senior safety Kurt Coleman will be suspended from the Buckeyes game this Saturday at Indiana for the helmet-to-helmet hit he delivered on Illinois backup quarterback, Eddie McGee, in last week's 30-0 win over the Fighting Illini.

Both Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith and head coach Jim Tressel were not pleased with the one-game suspension issued by the Big Ten Conference, especially after Coleman was pulled from the game and penalized following the hit.

Smith and Tressel issued a joint reaction to the Big Ten's decision.

"Obviously, we will abide by the one-game suspension from the Big Ten Conference," the statement said. "But, we feel as if there was poor judgment throughout.

"We concur that Kurt's hit was late and a result of poor judgment; he was thus penalized and removed from the game by his coaches. We do not agree that it was 'pre-meditated' or that he was 'targeting a defenseless' player.

"The decision to suspend points to the Conference office's feeling as if there was poor judgement by the game officials for their decision not to eject at the time.

"In our estimation, the final 'poor judgment' is in levying a one-game suspension in this particular case. We will abide by the decision, learn from it, and move forward."

Coleman has recorded 29 tackles (second on team), one interception, and has forced three fumbles for the Buckeyes this season.

Coleman is also a team captain and an integral part of the Buckeyes defensive unit which has posted two consecutive shutouts since falling to Southern California in their second game of the season.

The No. 9 Buckeyes will replace Coleman with senior Anderson Russell, who has recorded 11 tackles and a half-sack this season.

The university said that they will not comment any further on this subject. The Big Ten also issued a "no comment" to Smith and Tressel's statement about the suspension.