Oklahoma State F Michael Cobbins suspended for first three games

Oklahoma State forward Michael Cobbins will miss some time. (USATSI)
Oklahoma State forward Michael Cobbins will miss some time. (USATSI)

Oklahoma State forward Michael Cobbins has been suspended for three regular season games and one exhibition by the NCAA after appearing in two games for a total of five minutes during the 2010-11 season prior to redshirting. 

John Helsley of the Oklahoman was first to report the news.

In a similar situation to that of Duje Dukan at Wisconsin, Cobbins played in two of the first three games of the season in 2010-11 prior to deciding to redshirt. He didn't do anything wrong or make any poor decisions, but yet he'll still miss as many games as Chris Walker at Florida for failing a drug test and more games than Evan Nolte at Virginia for his alcohol-related infraction. 

While I don't particularly think of either of those two incidents as egregious or suspension-worthy personally, I outline them only to show the silliness of the NCAA's rule that a player must sit out twice as many games as he played during a redshirt season. Zach Bohannon, a captain on Wisconsin's Final Four team last season, wrote us a letter discussing the ridiculousness of the rule when Dukan's suspension became official and nailed it with this:

However, some NCAA rulings are beyond head-scratching and make you question if the NCAA is really there for "student-athletes."

Let me explain such an incident.

There's a member of the Wisconsin men's basketball team who has been suspended by the NCAA for four games. This senior was suspended for more than 10 percent of his final season because he made what the NCAA declared a "poor decision." Surely, you probably assume, this "poor decision" must include one of the many transgressions that have recently garnered headlines, things like failed drug tests, signing autographs for money or something truly criminal. But that's not the case. This story is a different story.

This basketball player simply came down with mononucleosis at the beginning of the 2012-13 season. After missing six weeks of workouts, he came back at the start of the season to see how his body felt. He went through a few weeks of practices, then played a few minutes in a "secret scrimmage" against DePaul. He then played in an exhibition for a few minutes before realizing his body still wasn't anywhere close to 100 percent. At that point, the player decided it would be in his best interest to pull a mid-career redshirt.

Enter the NCAA Minutia Police.

This move, by the way, is totally acceptable for freshmen. But, according to the NCAA, redshirts for players who participate in scrimmages and/or exhibitions are not allowed for upperclassmen. Consequently, the NCAA initially decided to penalize this player two games for every "game" he played in. In other words, the NCAA turned the player's participation in one scrimmage and one exhibition into a four-game suspension, which will be served at the start of his final year this season. Hypothetically, this player would have been better off failing a drug test.

It's the same situation with Cobbins, who not only redshirted the 2010-11 season but also had to miss two-thirds of last season due to a torn Achilles tendon. It's a stroke of bad luck for Cobbins, who is expected to be a big piece of coach Travis Ford's frontcourt this season next to LeBryan Nash. He had a career season in 2012-13 when he averaged 6.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest, and has a very legitimate chance to improve those numbers to around 10 points and eight rebounds per game with the incoming increase in usage. 

The Cowboys likely won't miss him in their games against Southeastern Louisiana, Prairie View A&M, and Northwest Oklahoma State. But the point is more that the NCAA needs to adjust this rule, as the punishment clearly doesn't befit the "crime."

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