Posted on: December 7, 2009 2:58 pm
Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: There have been conflicting reports as to how long Lewis Jackson's foot injury will keep him out. Let's say, hypothetically, Jackson is able to return to Purdue around the time of the Big Ten Tournament. If you're Matt Painter, and you think you have a legitimate shot to reach the Final Four, do you burn a whole season of Jackson's eligibility for a March run? This may be the best team in Purdue's history, so I think, if Jackson can help the team, you've got to play him. What do you think?
Painter first has to decide if he wants to use Jackson. If not, it's a moot point because any coach should be able to redshirt whomever he wants whenever he wants just like any coach should be able to start whomever he wants whenever he wants. So if Painter wanted to continue to sit Jackson to preserve the year of eligibility, he would have a right to do that. On the other hand, if Painter wanted to spend a year of Jackson's eligibility on three or four weeks of games, I think he would need to consult Jackson before doing it because I don't think it's fair to push that on somebody.
So to recap, if Jackson isn't cleared until around the Big Ten tournament and Painter wants to continue to sit Jackson and just request a medical redshirt, I'm fine with it, and Jackson should have no say in the matter. But if Painter wants to spend a year of Jackson's eligibility on a handful of games, I think he'd need to make sure Jackson was on board with the decision.
And this has nothing to do with Purdue, Painter or Jackson, really.
It's how I'd feel about this situation regardless of the parties involved.
If you're going to spend a year of eligibility on four weeks, the player needs to be OK with it.