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Friday, April 18, 2014

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Dantonio, athletics department remain silent on details of Max Bullough suspension


Senior linebacker Max Bullough runs to greet his family during Senior Day on Nov. 30, 2013, before the game against Minnesota at Spartan Stadium. The winningest senior class in Spartan history was honored before the crowd. Julia Nagy/The State News

After a shocking statement announcing the suspension of senior linebacker and MSU team captain Max Bullough, football head coach Mark Dantonio and other university officials have stayed largely silent amid a swirl of rumors and speculation.

Bullough, a Traverse City native and the third generation in a family of Spartan football players, was suspended for “a violation of team rules,” according to a statement released shortly after midnight Thursday. The suspension automatically bars Bullough from playing in the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl matchup against Stanford and ends his college football career.

The nature of Bullough’s violation remains unclear, and MSU representatives don’t seem eager to offer more information. Dantonio’s initial statement supposedly is the athletic department’s final word on the matter.

During a Thursday press conference held at Disneyland in California, Dantonio told reporters senior Kyler Elsworth and sophomore Darien Harris are evenly splitting practice time to take Bullough’s place in the Rose Bowl.

He said the team would “rise up and play” in Bullough’s absence, but the question of what Bullough did to earn the suspension went unaddressed, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press.

A preliminary search by The State News did not turn up any records of recent arrests for Bullough, who served nine months of probation in 2011 on a minor in possession charge after he was arrested in Colorado with former teammate Brian Linthicum.

Officials from Traverse City and East Lansing police departments told The State News Bullough has not been arrested in either jurisdiction.

Shortly after the suspension was announced, Bullough tweeted “you kno im not sleepin bru] (sic)” in response to a tweet from fellow teammate Taiwan Jones commenting on the time difference between California and Michigan. Bullough’s tweet has since been deleted, erasing his only public comment since his punishment.

Hundreds of astonished fans took to social media in the wake of the announcement, expressing emotions ranging from anger to sadness and outright shock. Many expressed support by sharing the hashtag #FreeMaxBullough, while others decried whatever actions Bullough took to earn the suspension.

But the overwhelming question on most fans’ minds seemed to be the one that MSU officials have declined to answer thus far — what did Bullough do?

Staff writers Geoff Preston and Holly Baranowski contributed to this report.

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