Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde's status has been in limbo since his involvement in an incident at a nightclub in Columbus. The story grew from Hyde being a person of interest in an assault on a woman to him allegedly punching the victim.
A video of the incident showed Hyde and the woman talking, the woman swinging at Hyde and Hyde swinging back at her; whether either swing connects is tough to tell while watching the surveillance video from Columbus' NBC4 station, via Denise Yost.
Upon news that the victim would not be pressing charges, from a statement made to NBC4, Urban Meyer acted swiftly. The coach suspended Hyde for the first three games of the 2013 season, despite no criminal charges being brought against him, via Ben Kercheval of College Football Talk:
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. He will be required to fulfill additional obligations before he is allowed to play in a game.
Tough for Hyde, good for Meyer and, in the end, something that certainly makes sense.
No, criminal charges were not filed. Yes, the investigation was closed. No, Hyde did not punch or knock out the victim as so many people seemed to be assuming.
However, through it all, with video evidence, the young man did take a swing at a woman. Certainly, it was after she swung at him and, no, it is too close to tell if either attempt actually connected. But, even as many say, "nothing to see here," the fact is he still took an open-handed swipe at a female.
That is something you cannot do, and in this instance, with the video proof, Hyde has to be parked for a short time.
Ultimately, the suspension could end up being something that is good for both Hyde and the program. Hyde is not just sitting out—that is merely the public part of the suspension. What is truly critical will be the "additional obligations" that Hyde must fulfill: likely team discipline and community service.
Team discipline means early runs and lifts. The stadium snaking, bear crawling, sprints and such that physically reminds players of what they have done wrong. They are a staple of every team and get imposed for everything from being late to meetings and missing class to failed drug tests and arrests.
Suspensions look good to the public, but coaches also take their pound of flesh in a much more physical way.
Given Hyde's situation, the more enriching element is likely going to be the community service that he must do to return to the team—a chance to work with people in the Ohio State and greater Columbus community in a positive way. Whether that is reading with kids, helping at a soup kitchen or cleaning up parks, there is a lot to take away from the experience.
Critics are going to take the Meyer route here. Perhaps the coach is looking to prove he is a changed man, tough on discipline by making an example of Hyde. The truth is, regardless of circumstance, helping Hyde understand the gravity of the situation is a plus.
Sure, no charges were pressed, but there is still a lesson to be learned here, and that Meyer using it as a teachable moment stands to benefit not only Hyde but other Buckeyes as well.