Michigan Football: Fitz Toussaint's Plea Deal Clears Way to Playing on Saturday

Adam JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterAugust 28, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03:  Fitzgerald Toussaint #28 of the Michigan Wolverines runs with the ball against Tariq Edwards #24 of the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The final piece of Fitz Toussaint's legal puzzle is finally in place, as the Michigan running back has pleaded guilty to driving while visibly impaired, a lesser charge from his DUI arrest back in late July.

Here's more from AnnArbor.com on Toussaint's plea deal at his arraignment on Tuesday:

Toussaint originally was facing a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, but pleaded down to the lesser charge in Saline's 14A-4 District Court. He will be sentenced Oct. 23 in Saline court.

He faces a maximum punishment of 93 days in jail, $300 fine (plus court costs and restitution) and 360 hours of community service.

Toussaint declined comment through his lawyer, Douglas E. Lewis.

"Take a hike," Lewis said.

[NOTE: The combination of "Toussaint declined comment through his lawyer" and Lewis' quote is the driest, greatest bit of journalistic humor we've seen in a long, long time. We digress.] 

Now, there's utterly zero chance that Toussaint receives the maximum jail sentence in this instance; even if he had received a guilty verdict on the DUI, it's unlikely that he would have received more than a few days of jail time minus the time already served. Judges aren't especially vindictive when dealing with a first-time offender, especially when nobody gets hurt and nothing gets damaged.

It's worth noting that Toussaint won't be sentenced until the middle of the season, which isn't exactly convenient for him or the football program. But aside from the inevitable "pay these fines and abide by this probation," that's it for this entire ordeal. Fitz Toussaint, officially guilty of driving while visibly impaired.

So now, the question once again becomes, what could Brady Hoke possibly be waiting for before clearing Toussaint to play against Alabama?

Toussaint is not suspended; he returned to practice a few weeks ago. Whether he's in game shape isn't really in question—and even if it were, there's zero evidence that Hoke is waiting on an indication on that front before clearing Toussaint to play.

And if this is just a ploy not to play into Nick Saban's hands, we'll just remind Hoke that Saban and Alabama have had almost nine months to prepare for this game. They'll be ready for Michigan regardless of who's at tailback.

So, it's time for Hoke to finally make the call and demonstrate where he stands on discipline. There's nothing else to wait for, not for an honest man. And a Michigan Man is an honest man, is he not?