When Detroit Cass Tech begins the 2014 season, it will be without quarterback Jayru Campbell.
Campbell, the 6-foot-4 junior quarterback who guided Cass to Division 1 state championships as a freshman and sophomore, has been suspended for the opening game by Alvin Ward, director of athletics for the Detroit Public School League.
Campbell, who has verbally committed to Michigan State's 2015 recruiting class, punched an opposing player in the handshake line following Cass' 28-0 semifinal loss to Novi Detroit Catholic Central, the team Cass beat in the previous two championship games.
Additionally, Campbell has been suspended from school for three to five days by Cass principal Lisa Phillips.
Campbell punched CC safety Jack Van Acker, who sacked and stripped Campbell of the ball at the Cass 6-yard line with 49 seconds left in the first half. CC scored two plays later, for a 14-0 halftime lead.
"It is a disqualification, and it carries over to the next season," Ward said today. "So he will be disqualified from participating in the first game of the season, and he's being suspended from school, per our student code-of-conduct policies and procedures for students that occur during games or any operation of any events.''
Ward said he was not responsible for the school's suspension but is pleased that Phillips took appropriate action.
"I'm glad she followed up on that,'' he said. "We do compliance from here, but we don't render code compliance for students, because I don't actually supervise people in schools. I'm support.
"I concur with her decision.''
Cass coach Thomas Wilcher was surprised and disappointed that the suspension was made public.
"I'm for the Detroit Public School League and I want to follow the protocol, but I just think our kids shouldn't be displayed in any type of wrongdoing,'' he said. "When Michigan State chastised somebody, you don't hear about it. Thomas Gordon got chastised (at Michigan). Did you hear about that? Why are we putting our kids in the public eye as bad people all the time? We do not have all bad kids."
CC athletic director Aaron Babicz denied a report in the Detroit News that insinuated that he said the punch did not land.
"I wouldn't comment on whether it landed or not,'' he said. "I wasn't standing there; I had only heard the story. But when I went back into the coaches' office, they told me it definitely did land. It landed.''
Babicz said he was contacted by Ward and asked to file a written report on the incident.
"One of our coaches was right behind Van Acker, and he wrote a summary of what happened,'' Babicz said. "Unfortunately, it did happen.''
Ward said the suspension was an easy decision because all eyewitnesses were in agreement on what happened. He does not expect anyone to file an appeal.
"It's blatant and it's pretty much written by everyone that saw it,'' he said. "I don't think there'll be an appeal. I think they'll accept the sanctions and move forward and make sure it doesn't happen again. And if at all possible, hey, apologies are in order. That's the way men think, anyway.
"Hopefully, we don't see another ugly event like that again.''
The Michigan High School Athletic Association is not expected to take additional action.
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.