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Row12.com - A Community of Sports Writers and Fans!                                               ***Attention Writers***
 
Disciplining J.T. Barrett
By Mike Tanchevski

Halloween weekend on college campuses all over the country and student creativity runs amok, with innovative and outlandish costumes the norm. With the outlandish attire come the alcohol fueled parties. Many students participate, including college football players, who are not immune to the social activities associated with college life.

Ohio State appeared to have its quarterback situation straightened out following J.T. Barrett’s strong performance in the Buckeye’s last two wins over Penn State and Rutgers. Barrett earned back the starting job after Cardale Jones struggled through six games, all wins.

Barrett’s skillful operation of the Buckeye’s offense puts pressure on a defense on the ground and through the air. Buckeye Nation saw Barrett’s return as the next step in OSU’s successful defense of its national title. He was the toast of Columbus.

That all took a different turn over Halloween weekend; with the Buckeyes in a bye week, Barrett was cited for operating a motor vehicle intoxicated. The 20 year-old Buckeye quarterback was pulled over after he attempted to avoid a police checkpoint; he was given a breathalyzer and registered a .099 blood alcohol level.

The following day head coach Urban Meyer suspended Barrett for the team’s next game against Minnesota. Meyer also rescinded Barrett’s scholarship for the 2016 Summer Term. 

Barrett committed an egregious offense, drunk driving kills someone every 40 seconds in this country. No excuse can justify his mistake, particularly since he is under the legal drinking age in Ohio. The OMVI is a misdemeanor offense in Ohio; three other drivers were cited in the well publicized checkpoint.

Meyer’s handling of the situation is far from over. Barrett is a team captain and his status is in question. Meyer prides himself on personal character and he expects anyone associated with the program to exhibit good character as well.

Barrett’s poor decision is disappointing and he should face severe consequences, however, he should have the opportunity to redeem himself. He will have to stand before his teammates and explain why he let them down, he must explain to his family how his poor choice cost him a great opportunity, and he must live with the fact that his action has diminished the trust teammates had in him.

Meyer went to the core of the matter when he opined that this incident, coupled with the domestic violence accusation last December, shades the character of Barrett and establishes a pattern of poor judgment.

The incident and subsequent consequences will surely bring out extremists on both sides of the issue. Some will say Meyer went too far, that Barrett young and made a youthful indiscretion. Others feel that the action was so egregious that he should face a season long suspension. As with most issues, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Meyer states that Barrett must earn back the trust of teammates and coaches in order to regain the starting quarterback position, when he does, and he will, he will face public scrutiny as well as hostile and clever barbs from fans at Illinois and Michigan.

The book on J.T. Barrett hasn’t been written; he has the ability to shape the next chapter.

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