A few weeks ago, Mark Richt implied that the Georgia Bulldogs did not have more discipline problems than other programs, they just didn’t cover it up. It would be hard to show the truth behind such a thought. It would take, say, a detailed investigation that showed a local police force looked the other way, or tipped off a head coach so he could deal with players but not actually arrest them and make public news.
This, though, got me thinking about another way that coaches can blur issues in their program–the notorious team rules violation. What is a team rules violation? The team rules that comprise these violations are probably in some cases as unwritten as baseball’s glorious rules of conduct. Some might be legal issues that are not made public, some might be drug test issues where the reasons aren’t put out in public; others are probably forgetting to turn the lights off when the last one out of the meeting room.
Still, I thought it would be interesting to see which SEC programs have used the undisclosed team violations the most over the last four years. Using a Lexis search of articles involving “suspension” in the same paragraphs as “team rules violation” and the school and coach name, I searched through articles to find instances since 2010.
I only include, though, those that were a reason is not publicly disclosed by the coach or known. Missouri, for example, briefly suspended Dorial Green-Beckham for a violation of team rules after news of his domestic violence incidence emerged, before kicking him off the team. (In this case, the team rule is apparently one of society’s rules: don’t hit women).
Here are the team rules suspensions for the 2010 to 2013 season by each current SEC school.
Georgia has resorted to as many as Richt’s neighbor and rival Steve Spurrier in South Carolina. Alabama and Ole Miss have had more team rules violation suspensions than the other SEC teams. For Alabama, it was four in 2013 and five in 2011. Ole Miss hasn’t had any since Hugh Freeze took over. Houston Nutt suspended a whopping six players for team rules violations in 2011. The number one team rule? Don’t get the head coach fired.