On Thursday, MGoBlog speculated that Michigan wide receiver Adrian Arrington would be suspended for Saturday's contest with Iowa. Brian later recanted, noting that Arrington had practiced with the team and would therefor likely be in uniform. Not aware of the situation surrounding Arrington, I didn't pay much attention.
The situation was back on my radar Sunday morning, though, when the Detroit Free Press noted that Arrington played Saturday despite being in the middle of a "murky legal situation." Per the Freep:
"There's an issue, and I'm not going to discuss it except to say that I take any allegation of this type very seriously, but I do not think the allegation is supported by the facts," Carr said. "This is just in the last few days."
Carr went to great effort to say that he was "very careful" when investigating the facts. Arrington, a junior from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, caught eight passes for 79 yards, both team highs on Saturday, but he did not address the issue after Saturday's game.
This is pretty interesting from where I'm sitting. Without knowing the facts, it looks like Carr made a preemptive legal evaluation of Arrington's situation, and, more interestingly, a preemptive evaluation of his football team's situation. With star receiver Mario Manningham already out with injury, it sure looks like Carr made the decision that, with Iowa the last serious challenger to Michigan before Ohio State, he needed Arrington on the field.
Horns fans may recall a similar situation in September with starting cornerback Tarrell Brown at Texas. After his arrest for what really turned out to be "wrong place, wrong time," or "keeping the wrong company," Mack Brown was faced with a dicey situation. It sure looked like, once the facts played out, Brown wouldn't be charged with anything. Numerous sources that I talked to confirmed to me that this was the most likely scenario, and that Mack knew it. He suspended Brown for the Ohio State game anyway.
Now, without knowing what kind of potential trouble Arrington was in, can we speculate that Lloyd Carr made a questionable decision to let Arrington play? Do you think if, suppose, Michigan had been playing Illinois this week, that Carr would have handled it exactly the same way? I'll leave it to the Michigan experts to answer that question. If the answer is "yes," then there's no real problem. But if the answer is "no," then Carr's decision is highly questionable. Would you be upset with Carr if you were a Michigan fan? Should coaches play legal analyst and, if sufficiently convinced that legal charges will be dropped, ignore the pending investigation?
We really don't know enough right now to make any definitive judgments, but this looks curiously like a circumstancial decision - and the circumstances I have in mind have to do with football, and not Arrington's case. Time will tell, but it definitely made me raise my eyebrow.