Washington State senior d-lineman Robert Barber will rejoin WSU, football program, judge rules in issuing stay

COLFAX -- Washington State senior defensive lineman Robert Barber will return to the Cougars. Whitman County Superior Court judge David Frazier this morning granted Barber's motion, clearing the way for him to immediately return to class and the football program. It was clear from Frazier's ruling there was one issue above all others in this case.

And that was if Washington State followed it's own rules. Frazier ruled that it did not.

"Well obviously this is an important case, important to Robert Barber, important to the university," Frazier began from the bench. "I have no basis to enter any findings in effect here ... to give this case detailed, lengthy consideration, that's the question for today.

"A major issue raised here.. the board did not preserve the record on appeal, a portion of the record was not preserved. It was destroyed... the issue has merit.

"Candidly here, there have been numerous times that I’ve personally disagreed with the factual findings of the agencies. But we have a body of law ... Again, it is not my job to determine the facts, that's the administrative process’s job."

And this was big:

"In dispute is whether all of Mr. Barber's questions were asked, or if they were asked in the way Barber submitted them," said Frazier. "Who's telling the truth, Mr. Jussel or Barber? ... That can't be determined because the board destroyed the (questions/record)."

Barber started six of the Cougars' first seven games this season but hasn't played since Oct. 22 against Arizona State and hasn't been allowed to attend classes as a result of the WSU Appeals Board upholding his suspension by the Conduct Board for his role in a July 23 melee at an off-campus party.

Advocates for Barber have argued that the punishment -- not being allowed to finish his degree when he is one credit short of graduation and not being allowed to finish his last college football season -- is excessive and biased.

Barber's attorney, Steve Graham of Spokane, filed a motion to stay the suspension until the courts can hear is petition to review his case. They motion was built on three primary arguments:

  • Barber would suffer irreparable harm as a student and athlete
  • Barber does not pose a threat to the safety of other students.
  • WSU expelled Barber but did not provide proper due process when depriving him of his liberty and property rights when carrying out sanctions. 

"We want you to treat him like any person, like any student expelled," Graham argued in court Wed

Barber's case for irreparable harm was aided by WSU legend and former NFL quarterback Jack Thompson, who filed a declaration with the court on Monday emphasizing the importance of senior game film to NFL scouts. In Barber's case, this is especially notable because it's his first year as a starter and pro scouts were just starting to take notice of his outstanding play this season.

Barber is expected to rejoin the team as soon as today, CF.C is waiting on confirmation, we have requests out for comment from Mike Leach and Bill Moos.  CF.C will, as always, be at practice later today.

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