MSU football coach Mark Dantonio has reinstated Chris L. Rucker effective immediately. Rucker, a senior defensive back, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving a few hours after Michigan State defeated Michigan 34-17 on October 9. Prosecutors reduced the charge and Rucker served 8 days in jail for violating his probation in connection with last year's Rather Hall attack. Dantonio did not say if Rucker will play against Iowa. He's allowing Rucker to decide if he'll make the trip to Iowa City for Saturday's game. Dantonio explained his decision in the following statement:
“When I first came to Michigan State and since then, I have attempted to do things the right way. I have always positioned myself as a parent would in many – if not all – actions of discipline. My belief in young people is a positive one. I look for the greater good in our young people in today’s society , hoping to always find value even in difficult circumstances.
“I have known and have watched Chris L. Rucker for four years on the field, in the classroom, in the community and as a team member. The poor decision he made had need for serious consequences which he has now met and resolved from a team and legal perspective. It does not; however, rise to a lifetime banishment.
“Our decision to immediately reinstate Chris has been endorsed by the team’s unity council and the program at-large. This was a difficult decision. After much soul searching and dialogue with those who are vested in the program, I am comfortable and confident in the decision I have made.
“I have been asked about last year’s statement regarding zero tolerance. Zero tolerance means exactly that. We have no tolerance for Chris L. Rucker’s actions. I repeat, I have no tolerance for his actions. He was immediately suspended. He has served his civil punishment, and there are other internal disciplinary measures nobody will know about outside the program. Again, zero tolerance does not mean automatic dismissal.
“When I find something I cannot tolerate, my response is not found in some playbook. There is no call that fits all situations. Sometimes, the reason for calling a play – either on or off the field – is known only to those closest to the situation.
“I made this call, and I should be held accountable. I hold myself accountable. To some critics, it might be seen as a low-percentage call or the wrong decision. It is neither. To me, our coaches, and our entire team – the men in the arena – it was the right call for the right reasons.
“Each case, like every young man on this team or every other student at this university, is different.
“Losing a game hurts. Removing a young man like Chris from the team is unacceptable.
“My decisions can never be only about the next game. The scoreboard I most care about has very little to do with a Saturday in October. This is about positioning a young man for a successful and productive future. Again, I am very sorry for his actions and irresponsibility. It is my hope that we can forgive his actions and move forward."