COLUMBUS — Although Ohio State senior tailback Carlos Hyde will not be charged, according to police, with the assault of a female inside a Columbus-area nightclub, it hasn't permitted him from eluding the wrath of his disappointed head coach.
On Tuesday, Buckeyes head football coach Urban Meyer announced that he will suspend the star running back for at least the first three games of the 2013 season — home tilts against Buffalo, San Diego State and at California — and perhaps even longer.
Meyer released the following statement on Tuesday ...
"Carlos Hyde will be suspended for at least the first three games of the 2013 season for conduct not representative of this football program or this university," Meyer said. "He will be required to fulfill additional obligations before he is allowed to play in a game."
I agree totally with the coach's decision to bench Hyde for the first three games of the season. Sure, after watching the surveillance video of the incident, I don't believe Hyde should have been charged with the assault since he never actually struck the female.
However, like a child and parent ... you may have escaped punishment from the law, but you're still going to be grounded for your actions.
The suspension seemed imminent during Big Ten Media Days last week, after quarterback Braxton Miller stated that they received "some good news" about Hyde that morning, only to hear Meyer counter moments later that "I didn't receive the good news."
Meyer's reaction to the situation displays to his team that no single player is above the law, and that if you step out of line you will suffer the consequences for your actions — something quite foreign in collegiate and professional sports today.
It also provides Hyde with the ultimate gut-check. Will he accept his punishment, learn from his mistakes and try to "fulfill additional obligations" set by his coach, all while having to watch talented runners like Rod Smith, Bri'onte Dunn, Warren Ball and Dontre Wilson receive reps and opportunity to unseat him?
I recall when Jaamal Berry was an incoming freshman back in 2009. He was one of the top prep runners in the country, and looked to be a major candidate to start as a true freshman, following the departure of Chris "Beanie" Wells. But just prior to his arrival on campus, Berry was arrested for possession of marijuana back in his hometown of Miami, Florida.
He was dropped to the bottom of the depth chart by then head coach Jim Tressel, a place that he was never able to climb back out of, allowing players like Dan Herron, Jordan Hall and Hyde opportunities to take the reins.
Will Hyde go the Berry route, slipping away into nothingness? Or will he take the same approach Herron did going into his senior season in 2011, taking his lumps and remaining a true leader after being suspended for the first six games of the season for accepting improper benefits?
Hopefully for he, and all involved, Hyde will choose the latter.