The buzz in college football tonight revolves around the Mike Leach suspension saga, and it's aroused strong reactions from both sides. The story revolves around wide receiver Adam James, son of former SMU running back and ESPN/ABC analyst Craig James. James suffered a concussion on December 16th, and was held out of practice on the 17th by doctor's orders. Reportedly, Leach told a Tech trainer to take James "to the darkest place, to clean out the equipment and to make sure that he could not sit or lean. He was confined for three hours." Two days later, Leach told a trainer to "put [James] in the darkest, tightest spot. It was in an electrical closet, again, with a guard posted outside." The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal called it a "shed".
So is this the wussification of football or is Leach out of control, a modern day Woody Hayes, who's unaware of the dangers of concussions? Or as Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily Tribune suggests... did he want to get fired?
I think the devil is in the details. Leach's attorney confirms much of the details of the situation, but says the circumstances will exonerate Leach in the end. How dark was the room he was placed in, how confined was James, and what was the message Leach was trying to send? Leach has a history of unorthodox handling of players; in March, Leach sent wide receiver Edward Britton out to study hall at midfield on a 30 degree day snowy day.
Did Leach not believe James was injured? Was their a prior history of discipline issues with James? Did Leach view this treatment as therapeutic or discipline? Is this just a case of an overprotective parent overreacting?
Texas Tech fans over at fellow SB Nation site Double T Nation are siding firmly behind Leach over the player. My initial reaction is to side with the player, but I can see both sides. It all depends on the size of the confinement and intent of the confinement.
No matter what actually happens, I think it's unlikely that Mike Leach will ever coach at Texas Tech again. The relationship between Leach and Tech's administration were strained last winter during contract negotiations. How do these two sides reconcile after all this? I just don't see it; if that was going to happen, this would have been resolved before it all exploded nationally.