Posted by Adam Jacobi
Last Saturday, we lamented the fact that Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown wasn't ejected for a blatant knee to the, shall we say, sensitive region of Northwestern lineman Patrick Ward late in the first half of what would eventually be a thrilling 38-35 victory for the Illini. Brown was at least given a personal foul penalty for that, the most personal of all fouls, and Northwestern would take the lead on the very next snap.
Still, Illinois coach Ron Zook and the Big Ten agreed that merely a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct wasn't quite sufficient, and for that Brown will not be participating in this week's game against Indiana. Here's the announcement from the Big Ten that went out Monday morning:
The Big Ten Conference office announced that it has accepted the one-game suspension of University of Illinois football student-athlete Jonathan Brown for violating the Big Ten Sportslike Conduct Agreement during the Northwestern game on Oct. 1, 2011.
University of Illinois head coach Ron Zook suspended Brown for the Oct. 8 game at Indiana for unsportslike behavior. In accordance with penalties established in Big Ten Conference Agreement 10.01.1.A.1, the conference office also publicly reprimands Brown for his actions.
The Big Ten Sportslike Conduct Agreement states that “It shall be the responsibility of each member university to ensure that all of its students and all individuals employed by or directly associated with it comport themselves in a sportslike manner when representing their university, especially at intercollegiate athletic contests.”
If anything, one game is too light of a suspension; watch the foul again, and you can see that this was a deliberate, unprovoked attack by Brown that took place outside of any in-game competition. The play was over, and Brown had no reason to so much as interact with Ward, much less make any contact with him, much much less knee him straight in the sacred area.
It'd be a two-game suspension and an unholy amount of extra sprints for Brown if I were coaching the Illini, but if the Big Ten accepts Illinois' suspension as it is, there's really not much issue to take with the punishment.