As was announced and expected Arkansas coach John Pelphrey doled out suspensions today all as expected, but there is one piece of shocking news. Starting point guard Courtney Fortson is out indefinitely. It was known that Fortson would serve at least a one or two game suspension for insensitive comments he made during the off-season on Twitter regarding the situation with basketball players being accused of wrong doing at a fraternity house. So this is only half shocking.
Pelphrey said that the team will be without Fortson for an undetermined amount of time, and that is one part suspension (Twitter comments) one part undisclosed personal issues Fortson wished to address. Pelphrey said Fortson came to him to address these issues, and so they are working on his “issues.”
While it is an indefinite suspension just note that Fortson is practicing with the team, and has taken part in both exhibition games. Pelphrey has been aware of this situation for some time and that probably explains why Fortson did not start any of those games and played off of the bench.
Now to the non-surprises.
The other suspensions are Marcus Britt, Glenn Bryant, and Nick Mason for their involvement in a fraternity house incident. Britt will be serving the largest time with 6 games because of this incident as well as a DWI he received during the off-season. Britt has been a role player during his time for the Hogs. He plays good defense off of the bench and when he is able to make his return the Hogs will be happy to have him back.
Freshman Glenn Bryant who has played extremely well in the Razorbacks’ first two exhibition games will serve a 2 game suspension for his involvement in the incident.
Nick Mason a walk-on player will not be permitted to dress out for games for the entire fall semester for his involvement in the incident.
There is also Stefan Welsh who will be suspended indefinitely. Pelphrey has said it could last the entire fall semester, but that Welsh has been working hard to rectify it. Pelphrey is unable to say more because of the student information acts and Welsh’s rights as a student.
Pelphrey has stated that all of these players have done well since their incidents and have worked hard and have learned from their mistakes.
In addition to these suspensions Michael Sanchez is sidelined with plantar fasciitis, he is out indefinitely with that pain.
The Razorbacks are lucky to have picked up Brandon Mitchell from the football team as well as Stephen Cox from the golf team, but do not count these Hogs out.
The Razorbacks will still have a number of weapons and will be back at full strength before SEC play begins. It is unfortunate that the Hogs will go into their second game of the year with the showdown against Louisville and Pelphrey’s mentor Rick Petino missing so many players.
Fans also please remember that these issues have been known for quite some time, and the players are being disciplined in a way that was deemed appropriate by the coach, athletic department, and school officials collectively.
The only surprise is the indefiniteness of Fortson’s suspension length. It is a positive sign though that Fortson is said to have come to Pelphrey to work on his personal issues.
Other than that nothing here is new.
The Hogs very well could come out of this period of suspensions and injury with a quality record. The games will be played regardless of how you look at the situation.
The young Hogs that will be playing and the veteran in Michael Washington deserve the support and the chance to endear the fans.
The sky is not falling, the knee jerk reaction many will hear is just fans that have been unaware of what has been going on over the past months. The administration took its time and looked into everything and worked out a suspension plan.
These suspensions will all run concurrent so after six games expect to see everyone back with the exception of Welsh maybe. Fortson may take some time as well, but expect to see him back some time during the still early season.
Keep checking in with me for updates and news as it surfaces.
Image Courtesy of ESPN