Not too long ago, it was the Missouri basketball program mired in a series of legal troubles and searching for a way to improve its identity on campus. Given a rough stretch of off-the-field issues in the month of August, it’s now the Missouri football program that finds itself in a public identity crisis.
The Missouri football program has taken its share of grief from local and national media, as well as the gamut of students and message board posters. Coach Gary Pinkel was asked whether or not he thought his program had taken “a hit.”
A crime reporter from the Columbia Missourian asked Pinkel whether or not he thought “the system” Pinkel references was working. It would be improper to editorialize, but the simple fact of the matter is this: Even if the system isn’t working, per se, it’s certainly doing something.
All three of the Tiger players involved in legal issues in the month of August are not expected to play Saturday against Illinois. Linebacker Will Ebner and deep snapper Beau Brinkley are both expected to sit after DWI arrests, and tailback Derrick Washington has been “permanently suspended” from the program after being charged with a deviate sexual assault Class C felony. Whereas several notable college football coaches are quick to back away from disciplinary stands and “let the legal process take its course,” Pinkel’s track record indicates his willingness to act proactively independent of the decisions of the legal system.