Maurice Purify is set to settle his court issues tomorrow. He has two major incidents and he's going to settle all charges tomorrow in a plea arrangement after which Bill Callahan gets his turn to settle his issues with Purify.
So... here's the quandary. Do you:
- Kick Maurice Purify off the team for screwing up twice in five weeks. There is no place at Nebraska for him.
- Suspend him two games (Nevada and Wake Forest) and bring him back for the USC game.
The first is the easiest. Dismiss the kid, be rid of him and never let him wear Husker Red again. It's easiest for alumni like me. We can then take the moral high ground and look down upon other programs who don't dismiss troubled athletes but instead punish them by having them clean up the stadium after home games.
Unfortunately, I don't think it does much to further the growth of a young man and that's ultimately what's at stake here - what kind of young men are we building at Nebraska? Someone who accepts responsibility, recognizes what they've done wrong, and goes forward being a better person, or do we just want to get rid of them and save ourselves more potential embarrassment.
The second is more difficult. The coach immediately gets blamed for having a 'win at all costs' attitude. Alumni and fans get crap from co-workers, non-Husker relatives (that's what you get for marrying outside the Nation), or people you don't know sending you emails. And God help everyone if the kid screws up again. Then it's "You're an Idiot" time all over again, but squared.
Without knowing the outcome of the charges (although I'll guess he pleads "No contest"), I say suspend him a couple games and then bring him back for USC. Suspending him a couple games accomplishes a few things. It guarantees that he won't make any All-American, Big 12 conference, or post-season awards, so it serves as a punishment for screwing up. And it allows for enough time to pass to see if he's going to come around and get his head straight. If he does, he can play. If he doesn't, he's gone with no reservations.
After all these years and knowing what we know about Lawrence Phillips, I'm still convinced that Tom Osborne made the right decision in suspending Phillips and letting him later join the team. Osborne took the chance that Phillips would get through counseling and became a better human being. We all know that it didn't work out that way, but that isn't because the head coach didn't try to help him or give him another chance. It was because Phillips continued to make very bad choices throughout the rest of his life.
So, what to do? Is it better to give Maurice Purify another chance? Or dismiss him from the team?