Oct. 20, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Big Ten Conference office announced Thursday that Michigan State sophomore defensive end William Gholston has been suspended for one game (Oct. 22 vs. Wisconsin) for violating the Big Ten Sportslike Conduct Agreement during the game against Michigan on Oct. 15, 2011.
The league 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 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."
"Michigan State University takes a great deal of pride in vigorously promoting positive sportsmanship," Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis said. "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. As leaders, we need to ensure that our student-athletes are prepared for these moments and taught how to respond. As all observed, Coach (Mark) Dantonio and his staff reinforced this practice by immediately pulling him from the game and coaching him.
"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.
"We wanted the Big Ten to understand the totality of the situation and that this act does not reflect the culture and values of Spartan Football and Michigan State University. We are accountable for the incident and accept the prescribed penalty."
"William Gholston is a tremendous and extremely caring young person," MSU head football coach Mark Dantonio said. "In the heat of the moment, he momentarily lost his composure. Football is an emotional game of split-second reactions. It was an unfortunate incident. We look forward to his reinstatement.
"Our coaching staff and players respect the game, and our players are taught to play the game the right way. This is a physical and emotional game. During the course of a contest, there are individual confrontations that sometimes escalate. The stakes - as well as the emotions - are always a little higher in a rivalry game. We will continue to stress the importance of maintaining one's composure during the heat of competition."
"I deeply regret momentarily losing my composure late in the third quarter of last Saturday's game against Michigan," Gholston said. "Although provoked, my response was inappropriate. Coach Dantonio regularly reminds us that actions have consequences, and I will be better prepared to handle these circumstances in the future. I look forward to my reinstatement."