The Sheldon Richardson suspension couldn't have come at a worse time. The Tigers need one more victory to become bowl eligible. They have two games left, one Saturday at home against Syracuse and the following Saturday at Texas A&M.
After watching Texas A&M go to Alabama and beat the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide, it's hard to imagine the Tigers going on the road and beating the Aggies. The Syracuse game represents Mizzou's best hope to keep their bowl streak alive.
Sheldon Richardson is the best player the Tigers have. He's one of the top defensive tackles in the nation. He's a game changer. He'll be a first-round pick in the next NFL draft. Apparently, his academic major is "making it to the NFL". Who needs to go to class when you're about to become a multi-millionaire pro football player? Not Sheldon.
It would have been easy for Missouri coach Gary Pinkel to look the other way on this one and not make Richardson's classroom issues public. He could have easily waited just a few more days until after the Syracuse game, and then suspend Richardson.
But Pinkel didn't take the easy road. He brought the hammer down on Richardson and suspended him immediately. Pinkel has a history of doing that. He didn't flinch when he suspended and then cut Derrick Washington after the Tigers' best running back had his legal problems.
Pinkel doesn't fool around. Doesn't matter who it is. The integrity of his program is at stake and the head coach has sent another powerful message that his players, ALL of his players, have to toe the line or pay the consequences.