Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo said he will speak to his eponymous student section ahead of tonight's Big Ten/ACC Challenge showdown with Louisville about "class and respect."

What Izzo really meant was he's going to recommend that the Breslin Center student section stay away from any chants or cheers deriding the Cardinals for the very public, very embarrassing scandal in which it is currently mired.

A recent book alleges one of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino's subordinates paid escorts thousands of dollars for sex, among other things, with Cardinals players and recruits. Izzo wants no mudslinging about that from the student section that bears his name.

But here's why expecting the Izzone to abstain from disparaging Louisville for its current controversy is just plain wrong.

  • 1

    Why hold the Izzone to higher standards than Pitino and the Louisville basketball program?

    Refresh my memory: Is it the Izzone that's at the center of a scandal wherein players and recruits were reportedly furnished with bought-and-paid-for sex?

    No, that would be Louisville. The Cardinals are the ones accused of moral ambiguity in the middle of one of the all-time foulest sports scandals.

    Why then are we being so hard on the Michigan State student section even beforehand? If only we had been so austere toward Louisville...

    If Izzo and like-minded people held Pitino and Louisville to the same puritanical standards they hold the teenage-to-20-somethings of the Izzone, maybe we wouldn't have had a top-tier college basketball program allegedly buying hookers for its players and recruits.

  • 2

    It's called a home-court advantage for a reason

    What ever happened to using your home crowd as a means to success?

    The Izzone has been a large part of MSU basketball's success over the years, and that is undeniable. The student section has earned its reputation as one of the best in the country and in doing so it has made the Breslin Center one of the toughest road venues in all of sports. And it hasn't done that by passing on controversial issues and stories for fear of hurting someone's feelings.

    Yes, making fun of Louisville for this very public sex scandal is easy. Yes, it's borderline low-brow. But it's also fair game in the world of college basketball and sports at large.

    That's not to say there's no such thing as crossing the line, because there certainly is. This just isn't it.

  • 3

    It's the elephant in the room

    Honestly, how can the Izzone not mention this?

    It's arguably the biggest college sports scandal this side of SMU. Avoiding the topic is oblivious and seems like a long way to go to be charitable to a Louisville basketball program that has a reported severe lack of scruples.

  • 4

    This is college, after all

    Isn't college supposed to be a period of personal development, growth, experience and expression? So why are we discussing muzzling students?

    It has always fascinated me that one of the largest platforms for First Amendment rights--colleges and universities--is one of the most suppressive when those rights are exercised to express ideas considered unfavorable by those in positions of power.