October 14th, 2006, is a day that all Miami Hurricane fans and Florida International fans will remember for the rest of their lives. Punches were thrown, people were stomped on, helmets were swung, and people were suspended...for one game.
Now I am well aware that the University of Oregon handed down the punishment to their running back LeGarrette Blount this afternoon which lands him on the sideline for the remainder of the 2009 season; but, you better believe the NCAA gave Oregon a call today and said "if you don't do it, we will."
I praise Oregon for stepping up and giving Blount a suspension but part of me thinks if this game was not on national television, the suspension would have been less severe. Some of you may be thinking: "What does him punching a guy have to do with national television, that doesn't matter." Wrong, it does, hear me out.
On October 14th, 2006, the University of Miami and Florida International University were involved in a brawl far greater than this fight last night. Player after player ran onto the field and as I described in my introduction, the scene was out of control. There was one huge difference between these games though, one was on national television on opening night and the other was the middle of the season and not on televised nationally.
This morning the Pac-Ten and NCAA put out a statement that they were "reviewing" the incident. They didn't need to review it, they needed to contact Oregon and figure out who should make the announcement to the NCAA Football world. Oregon was smart and decided to announce his suspension for the remainder of the year, which then makes Oregon look responsible. Now, I have no doubt that Oregon was going to punish him for the rest of the season but my question is this, where was the NCAA and more importantly where was this sort of response in 2006?
Each player involved in the 2006 brawl was suspended for only one game. Meanwhile, FIU stepped up and showed courage by kicking some of their players involved off the team completely. Where was the NCAA or even the ACC committee(s)? They never stepped in and did anything more and now in light of what happened in last night's Oregon game...if Boise State doesn't step up and suspend their player that provoked Blount, the NCAA better!
Blount has no sympathy from me because he deserved a big suspension but Hout from Boise State also deserves a one game suspension. If the NCAA doesn't hand it down, they are contradicting their new "sportsmanship" standards and dropping the ball...again.
More disturbingly, I can bet that had this game not been a big time showcase for the NCAA and on national television, Blount would be playing again in a few weeks; just ask former UM players like Brandon Merriweather.
So I will ask you again, where was the NCAA, ACC, and the University of Miami after 2006's brawl? Yep, you guessed it, at home watching another game on TV.
***Here is a clip of the Miami brawl for all of you to watch again and remember that it was actually worse than last night's fight.