James Madison announced Monday afternoon that leading scorer Rayshawn Goins would be suspended for the first half of Wednesday night's play-in, er, "opening round" game against LIU Brooklyn. Goins was arrested Sunday night outside an apartment party.
On first impression, this smells like a classic non-decision by a school. Either suspend the kid or don't. But in thinking about it a bit more, I actually don't mind the move.
With the school making its first NCAA appearance in 19 seasons, and with a winnable game on national TV that would net extra money for the school and conference with a victory, the Dukes' administration could have let this pass. In sitting Goins for a half, they are definitely compromising that chance for a victory and a crack at No. 1 seed Indiana.
At the same time, it's not really fair to punish the other players on the team for Goins' actions. I'm all for the concept of team and everyone being responsible for each others' actions, but there would be a lot of regret if the Dukes went down to defeat without their leading scorer because he acted belligerent toward police who were trying to break up a party. Goins is 24 years old, so he's not underage. It feels like the punishment fits the crime in this case. There's a cost to Goins' silly actions, but the Dukes should still have a reasonable chance to advance, potentially with his post-halftime help.