The Big Ten announced on Thursday that it will be suspending Michigan State's William Gholston for violating the Big Ten Sportslike Conduct Agreement during their game against Michigan on Oct. 15 At the end of the third quarter, Gholston twisted the helmet of Denard Robinson, and punched Taylor Lewan. The Big Ten cited a specific clause in the agreement that was violated in a press release:
The Big Ten determined that Gholston's actions at the end of the third quarter of the Michigan contest violated Big Ten Conference Agreement 10.01.1.A.1 - "Striking or attempting to strike or otherwise physically abusing an official, opposing coach, spectator or athlete." The conference office also publicly reprimanded Gholston for his actions.
The team posted the press release, along with some comments on the incident and suspension on their own website:
MSU took this incident seriously, and this was reflected in my attempt to gather, understand and share with the Big Ten extensive information about what likely contributed to the incident. ... Make no mistake; there is no place for a thrown punch in a football game. At the same time, it was important to get beyond the two-second video clip. It is critical that we strive to reduce and eliminate the sporadic incidents that detract from the game. In order to do that, we all must understand, be accountable and manage the environment to reduce these types of reactions.
Emphasis mine. It sounds like the school is reprimanding Gholston, while at the same time expressing its dissatisfaction with Michigan and the way their players set the situation up. It's a worthy point: these things happen in football and much more should be looked at than the reaction of one player, but it's hard to argue that Gholston doesn't deserve the one-game suspension - there's just no way to get past having that kind of thing happen in a game.