On Oct. 31, Ohio State Buckeyes starting quarterback J.T. Barrett was cited for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Since this was not a National Collegiate Athletic Association issue, it was up to Ohio State and specifically head coach Urban Meyer to devise a punishment for their star QB. The punishment that the head football coach deemed appropriate in the end for this was a one-game suspension. The school policy is that the punishment for this would be a two-game suspension, but since it was a misdemeanor, he was not subject to a mandatory two-week suspension. At first, it seemed that this was a very light punishment for something that ended in arrest, but with all things considered, this seemed to be the proper consequence.
In a season that is only 12 games (13 if you include the conference championship), one game can really make the difference for a team in regard to the success of their season. If Ohio State loses just one game, it could potentially knock them out of the College Football Playoff picture. Since their strength of schedule certainly does not match up to the other one-loss teams (Alabama, LSU and Notre Dame) and also given the fact that there are still a lot of other undefeated teams remaining (Clemson, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Iowa), their chances of making the playoff if they lose a game at this point in the season are slim to none. The reason I say this is because they still have to play Michigan State at home and Michigan at the Big House before they would even reach the Big 10 Championship (where they would most likely be facing Iowa). Therefore, they couldn’t afford to lose such a great player at a critical position for an extended period of time.
Another reason why a one-game suspension is an appropriate punishment is because of the comparison to what other universities have done in similar situations. Just last year, Florida State Seminoles Heisman Trophy winning QB Jameis Winston was accused of sexual violence on Florida State’s campus. The university had rules against this that they were obligated to enforce on Winston, but the Seminoles decided that since he was such a vital player to the team, they did not punish him at all. This was looked at as absolutely astonishing at the time. Sexual assault is a big problem throughout the country, and the fact that they did not make an example out of Winston makes me sick to my stomach. There should have been some consequence for his actions.
Looking back on Barrett’s situation, I believe that the punishment fit the crime pretty well. If they suspended Barrett for another game, it probably would not have costed Ohio State anything since they would face the unranked University of Illinois. In the end, I believe that he has learned his lesson and will continue to play well and Ohio State will make it back to the College Football Playoff.