One of the more wild events of the season has taken place in the last 48 hours as running back Derrick Mitchell has gone from suspended to reinstated in a short period of time.
Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes sent out a press release on Monday night announcing the suspension of Mitchell, citing a violaton of student life code of conduct.
"Derrick has been suspended due to a football program and student life code of conduct violation," said Ferentz. "This is not a legal issue. Derrick is working through the issues at hand in regards to being in good standing as a University of Iowa student. We will follow the established university protocol as we move forward."
At his press conference on Tuesday, Ferentz had a substantial change of plans to address with regards to Derrick Mitchell, the third running back in the Hawkeyes' rotation.
"The other thing I want to talk briefly about is Derrick Mitchell and just give you a brief synopsis on that whole thing," Ferentzs stated. "When we arrived (in Ames) on Friday I was made aware of a letter that came from the university that afternoon to Derrick, and as you might well imagine, at that point, really wasn't too interested in investigating less than 24 hours from kickoff. We sent Derrick home at that point."
"I had an opportunity to visit with Derrick last night and get more information, and after getting a full understanding of the situation, we were really pleased to welcome him back this morning," Ferentz added on Tuesday. "So he's back with the football team and we'll move accordingly from there."
This has lead many to share opinions that Mitchell should have been welcomed back to the team earlier. It has also lead some to believe that he was allowed back to the team perhaps too quickly. From my standpoint, I think it was dealt with perfectly by Kirk Ferentz and the rest of the Iowa coaching staff.
We don't have all the details of the severity of the violation, but it was obvious that it concerned the university enough to make Kirk Ferentz aware. Could he have had the conversation earlier? Perhaps. It was the eve of the rivarly game against Iowa State, though, and he not only has a commitment to Derrick Mitchell, but to the rest of the football team. There's no telling how long it would have taken him to get to the bottom of it, and it could have taken away from his preparation for the game, as well as creating an unfair distraction for the rest of his squad just hours before a critical matchup with the in-state Cyclones.
Because he did not have the luxury of time to figure it all out in the hours leading up to the game, Kirk Ferentz and Iowa had Mitchell sent home. It's unfortunate for Mitchell, but it prevented a distraction from taking place for the rest of the team. The football program still addressed it, not turning a blind eye with how they reacted. I think they did the best they could with the information they were given and the timing of it.
Does Ferentz wish he did not have to send Mitchell home at this point, and not have had to suspend him? I'm sure. But he wasn't given much opportunity or a chance. Once they returned to Iowa City, they put in the time needed to fully get an understanding, and responded in kind, reinstating Mitchell.
It was an unfortunate situation, but handled the best way possible by Kirk Ferentz and the football program.