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Should SU Judicial Board Be Allowed to Prevent Marcus Sales From Returning?

Since charges against suspended wide receiver Marcus Sales have been dropped, does he have any chance of playing football for Syracuse again?

The answer to that question is a resounding “who the hell knows?” Doug Marrone might have an inkling, but he’s not going to divulge anything.

“It’s good for Marcus to have this legal process behind him. As you know, the university has a student judicial process. Until that is complete, I cannot discuss any details. I made the team aware of this.”
The Dougie fielded several Sales-related questions during his Wednesday evening press conference, but declined to elaborate beyond that statement. He also instructed the players not to discuss the issue with the media. In typical fashion, the coach is keeping his cards close to the vest.
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Unfortunately, even though Sales is done sorting out his legal problems quicker than expected, he still has to deal with SU’s Judicial Board. As Marrone pointed out, the Pinstripe Bowl star must endure the school’s disciplinary process before things can move forward any further.
The judicial board is a tricky hurdle, and one Syracuse athletes have encountered many times before. The SUJD is a group of students and faculty who can dole out punishment outside the legal system. Interestingly, those accused are allowed to have a lawyer present, but may not speak with those lawyers during the review. Conversely, the accuser has full access to a lawyer throughout the process.

Recent examples include Eric Devendorf, who was suspended by the board for hitting a female student, and Jonny Flynn, Scoop Jardine, and Rick Jackson, who received probation but were cleared of sexual assault charges.

Devendorf’s case is the one that should make ‘Cuse fans, or least those who want Sales back in uniform, anxious. Devo never faced any actual legal consequences for his actions, yet the SU Judicial Board still found it necessary to punish him.

So while it makes sense that Sales could now go back to living a normal student life on the Hill, the board may decide otherwise.

But how exactly is that fair? In this instance, it doesn’t make sense for the school’s judicial system to take liberties the actual legal system didn’t. Sales was involved in a shady situation over the summer, and he’s lucky that all of the charges against him were dropped. You could easily make the argument he deserves to be punished significantly for his actions. But the fact is, a grand jury decided there wasn’t enough evidence to indict him. The SU Judicial Board needs to respect the grand jury’s decision, and respect the rights of Sales.

If he does get cleared by the board, the wideout would likely be allowed to rejoin the football team. He’s already missed more than half the season – it’s probably even Marrone, the strict disciplinarian, would think Sales has served enough time.

If Sales has managed to stay in shape, the Orange could definitely use him. He was the best deep threat on the team heading into the year. Van Chew has yet to prove he can make it through a season without wearing down. Ryan Nassib’s other top targets, Alec Lemon and Nick Provo, aren’t known as vertical threats. Dorian Graham has shown tremendous improvement, but he still needs to prove he can be a consistent force.

The passing attack looked damn good against West Virginia, though, and the addition of Sales would make it downright scary. Now the Syracuse Judicial Board just has to cooperate.

Posted: Andrew Kanell

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