Indeed, how do rumors get going?
Well, these days, people just hit "retweet" on Twitter and spread things that people say. It has to be pretty damn ludicrous to be dismissed. Well, we had some lunacy on Twitter and GBI tonight.
Let's just get into them and I'll tell you my thoughts.
Rumor 1: Kelsey Barlow was suspended because Kelsey and Ryne got into a scuffle / fistfight / swordfight / gunfight / steel death cage match and Ryne is now also out for Friday, and potentially injured / catatonic / bedridden / dead.
This does not appear to be true. I think this was just one of those things that some bozo put out there to see if it would get traction....and it did. We suddenly began getting notes around midnight Eastern that they'd brawled and that Ryne was now out, too, and this was why Barlow was suspended. I saw it gain steam in a number of venues and, well, as I said, that's the nature of electronic media these days, folks.
Now, understand, I can't confirm for 100% certain that they didn't get into a duel where they walked ten paces, turned and fired....but I'm reasonably confident this isn't what happened. And if it does turn out that Ryne conked his head somehow, well, I still won't believe Kelsey bonked him with a brick or something.
This is a physical team that has presumably been practicing hard to regain the intensity they had for the month of February. Collisions happen. Don't believe nonsense if it sounds like nonsense.
Rumor 2: Kelsey Barlow was suspended because he failed a drug test.
I wasn't even going to address this one because it seemed rather far-fetched. I mean, I'm not saying college students don't ever partake, but I figured a few things. For one, it's the week of the NCAA tournament. For Kelsey to do such a thing would be purely idiotic. For another, as we've documented here, Purdue's drug policy is laughable. Even if Kelsey was being stupid, it would probably be hard to violate the policy enough times to be suspended.
Ah, unless...unless the coaching staff decided unilaterally that that kind of behavior and poor judgment is not what we expect from our players.
I came to this conclusion after multiple sources, including a media member, indicated that this was exactly the case. I want to stress, however, that none of them is willing to go on record with this or say it is "confirmed." It does cause me to hesitate a bit, but this failed drug test rumor is already circulating and I've heard more than once that it has come from a "source within the athletic department."
If that is indeed true, then the already-lacking Purdue athletic department needs to shore things up and do a better job of controlling the flow of information. Finding out through leaks makes everyone look bad.
And if this is true about Kelsey -- and yes, we're holding out hope that somehow the people claiming it (and tweeting it) are flat wrong -- then we may have seen the last of him in a Purdue uniform.
We have it on very good authority that the fighting rumors can and should be put to bed. My advice is to keep the faith...this might be the best possible thing for everyone involved right now.