Les Miles didn't wait for the question. The first-year Kansas head coach opened Big 12 Media Days by answering the first question before it was asked.
"I know there's an issue that we must discuss so let me get to it if you will. First of all, there is no proper way to put it, there is no violence– violence will not be accepted with women, period. Action was taken immediately."
Miles, of course, was referring to Pooka Williams, the Jayhawks' running back who was arrested and charged with domestic battery in December. According to the police report, an 18-year-old victim was "punched in the stomach, as well as grabbed by the throat Williams" at an on-campus apartment on Dec. 5. Williams told the police "he had pushed [the alleged victim] when he saw her in a room with other guys."
Williams was immediately suspended from team activities and, later, granted diversion on the misdemeanor charges and required to, among other things, complete 40 hours of community service and an anger management course. In early July, he was reinstated, suspended (by the university and not the football program or athletics department, per Big 12 rules) for one game, the season opener vs. Indiana State, and released a statement that called his behavior "unacceptable."
"We felt like a strong point was made not only with Pooka but the team, the idea that for seven-and-a-half months that Pooka was going through a process and he didn't have the opportunity to spend time with his team, go to the weight room, just be a part [of the team]," Miles continued on Monday.
"Pooka went through legal investigation. Pooka also had proceedings that went through the conduct board at the University. He basically understood very much that if he did not meet the criteria that the board asked that this would not last long, and he really met every criterion that he could. He's taken responsibility. He's been remorseful. He's learned from this experience, as has our team."
Miles' comments, like the one-game suspension, will draw a variety of reactions. Is it enough? I'm not in a position to quantify the effect of domestic violence. I don't know if it's enough. But, clearly, Miles believes it's enough, in part because a seven-month off-the-field suspension accompanies it.
That's the attention-grabbing piece. And while, again, I'm in no position to quantify his actions or compare the weight of on- and off-the-field suspensions, Miles' comment was a big one. Is Kansas (and potentially the Big 12) setting precedent by quantifying an off-the-field suspension?
If the arrest occurred today, would Williams have been suspended for more than one game? Or if he was arrested in May, how many games? How many games equals the number of days, weeks or months away from the team?
Les Miles, the Kansas administration and the Big 12 Conference will never answer that question. Presumably, there is no conversion chart stuffed in Bob Bowslby's desk drawer. However, by suggesting a "strong point" was made with the off-the-field suspension, did Miles provide a glimpse into the decision-making?