Oregon football coach Chip Kelly said in announcement from Eugene, Oregon, today that Jeremiah Masoli has been suspended for the entire 2010 season. He will be eligible to return to the team in 2011.
Kelly’s announcement came just hours after Masoli pleaded guilty to misdemeanor burglary in a Lane County courtroom. Masoli was sentenced to a year probation, 140 hours of community service and restitution for stolen property.
Kelly added that LaMichael James will be suspended for one game to start the 2010 season. James was also in court today, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge brought by a female friend.
Oregon Kicker Rob Beard was given a one-game suspension during the same announcement. He pleaded guilty recently to the same charge as James.
Kelly has also recently dismissed former Oregon football players Garrett Embry, Jamere Holland and Matt Simms from the team because of off-field issues. Backup player Kiko Alsonso recently received a season-long suspension from Kelly after being arrested for DUI.
Verdict on the Masoli and James punishment? Both might’ve gotten off light. A good many coaches would’ve dumped Masoli after the quarterback lied repeatedly about his role in the Jan. 24 burglary.
James could’ve used two games, but at least Kelly did something. There was speculation rampant in the Oregon media that James would miss zero games.
Does today change the perception of Oregon football? No.
In the case of Masoli, Kelly had an opportunity to show the world that he was in complete command of his program and that no player, no matter how important, was above the rules.
By giving Masoli another chance, Kelly let himself and the program down. Kelly won’t get many better chances to truly put his personal stamp on Oregon football. But Masoli, somehow, will.