Friday is Pac-12 Media Day in Los Angeles, where reporters will be able to speak with all the coaches in the conference.
Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian is slated to speak at 9:45 a.m. A live-stream of the day will be available on Pac-12.com. He’ll surely be asked about the future of Austin Seferian-Jenkins. I’d bet we get an answer then.
From my point of view, Sarkisian has three options. Here’s a logical case for each and why it may be the path chosen:
No suspension. Sarkisian has often said since Seferian-Jenkins was charged with DUI that he felt this was a one-off incident for the tight end. They suspended him from spring practices. Seferian-Jenkins decided to submit a guilty plea as opposed to continue with his initial stance of not guilty, a sign he is taking responsibility for what happened. He’s done his day in jail, attended the court-mandated classes, plus voluntarily worked at other camps for kids. Seferian-Jenkins has also put out two statements expressing remorse. Sarkisian could argue the lesson has been learned.
One-game suspension. This is the penalty Stanford gave to star linebacker Shayne Skov last year after Skov was charged with DUI in the offseason. Suspending Seferian-Jenkins for the home opener against what is by far the toughest non-conference opponent in Boise State would be a strong statement from Sarkisian that things like this will not be tolerated. He’d also be saying that suspending someone from spring practice carries little weight as compared to making them miss a game, which is why everyone does this in the first place. A backdoor route would be to suspend Seferian-Jenkins for one of the non-conference games against a lesser opponent. Can’t imagine that would go over very well.
Two-game suspension. If Sarkisian wanted to exceed the penalty Skov received, he could give Seferian-Jenkins a two-game suspension. That would be good public relations, plus save Seferian-Jenkins’ body several weeks of banging. Washington has a bye week following the opener. The next week, it travels to Chicago to play an Illinois team that was 2-10 last year and closed the season with nine consecutive losses. That would give Seferian-Jenkins several weeks of practice without wearing down his body and a week to get sharp against Idaho State in the final non-conference game.
Part of the issue here is how DUI is viewed. It’s a very subjective topic. For many, it’s not viewed as a big deal. Like most things, that changes when someone is directly affected by it. For those folks, it’s viewed as a life-threatening action.
We’ll learn shortly how Sarkisian sees the entire picture as it pertains to Seferian-Jenkins (and, to a much lesser degree, Kasen Williams).