As details emerge from an incident early on Friday morning, the news for Purdue’s basketball team worsens. Not only has DJ Byrd been disciplined after a public intoxication charge, but Kelsey Barlow has been dismissed by Matt Painter.
The facts are still coming together, but reports from the Journal & Courier indicate that Barlow was asked to leave Where Else? (a bar on Chauncey Hill in West Lafayette). Barlow later returned to the bar after he apparently left his wallet at Where Else. Barlow was denied access. He returned again, but this time with members from the basketball team, including DJ Byrd and Robbie Hummel.
There was apparently some sort of confrontation between the bouncer and the basketball players. It led to Byrd scuffling with the bouncer and being arrested. Was he sticking up for his teammate, Kelsey Barlow? Maybe. But nothing good comes from hanging out at the bars past 3 a.m.
So, we all expected Byrd to be disciplined. He was: a one game suspension. Then the shocking news was announced. Purdue’s press release announced the dismissal of Kelsey Barlow.
We don’t know the whole story, obviously. Still, it’s strange to find out that Barlow wasn’t arrested yet kicked off the team. What hasn’t been reported that indicates why exactly Barlow was dismissed? We do know that Barlow was on a zero tolerance policy, after his suspension last year. Matt Painter has only said that the student athletes are held to a high standard and must be punished when they fail to meet those standards.
Painter adheres to the two strike rule that if you mess up (like being arrested) once, you’re disciplined. If you mess up twice, then you’re booted. This was Barlow’s second strike, although the details are murky.
Going forward, this is a tremendous blow to Purdue basketball. Not just this year, but also next year. Purdue has to find a new starting lineup for the remainder of the year. How do you replace a versatile defensive stopper like Kelsey Barlow? And for the Michigan State game, how do you replace both Barlow and the offensive spark plug, DJ Byrd?
Matt Painter’s job just got a lot more difficult. Unfortunately, the timing of this news is at a critical juncture that could impact its ability to make the NCAA Tourney this year.