By MATTHEW STEVENS
The ongoing saga that surrounds Mississippi State sophomore Renardo Sidney has taken a new turn.
The 6-foot-10, 270-pound forward has been suspended one game for what the school is calling conduct detrimental to the team. Multiple sources have confirmed to the Starkville Daily News that an incident occurred during a practice Monday at the University of Hawaii causing the punishment to be issued by Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury.
Sidney will be forced to sit today’s matchup with Washington State (8-1) in the opening game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.
“Sid is suspended for conduct detrimental to the team,” Stansbury said in a MSU release. “That’s all I’m saying. That’s all that needs to be said.”
Bulldawgjunction.com was the first to report the news of the 6-foot-10 forward’s status being trouble. According to sources close to the situation, Sidney’s practice incident involved altercations with coaches and teammates while the team prepared for its tournament in the Aloha State.
MSU officials initially sent out a release saying Sidney was suspended indefinitely but less than an hour after that news was sent out,
Mississippi State spokesperson Gregg Ellis stated to the media the suspension would be just one game. Ellis told the Starkville Daily News there was a communication breakdown between the coaching staff and his media relations on the length of the suspension in the first release but maintained the position that Sidney’s punishment never changed throughout the day despite a contradictory quote in the first release from the Bulldogs 13-year head coach.
“At this time, Sid is suspended indefinitely,” Stansbury stated in the first MSU release. “That’s all I’m saying. That’s all that needs to be said.”
Stansbury has not returned multiple texts and phone calls from the Starkville Daily News requesting clarification on this point.
A source close to the situation informed the Starkville Daily News that Stansbury told the ESPNU television commentators that he would be suspending Sidney but at that time it was unknown how long the suspension would be for.
Sidney had just completed a two-part penalty from the NCAA that included losing eligibility of the 2009-10 season due to unethical conduct along with being forced to sit out an additional nine games of this season due to receiving impermissible benefits.
In the first regular season college basketball game this weekend, Sidney had a team-high 12 points and three rebounds before fouling out in the Bulldogs 88-57 loss to Virginia Tech in The Bahamas.
The sophomore, whose college career has been steeped in controversy since he signed with Mississippi State over two years ago, took to his Twitter account Tuesday to fight his cause to fan base.
“If u go to Mississippi state and I dnt kno u dnt hit my page up and u dnt kno what u talking about cuz it can get real ugly in Starkville.,” Sidney tweeted before the suspension occurred. “For your info I didn’t quit no team it’s just a rumor!!”
Mississippi State (7-3) scheduled four regular season games in four days at Humphrey Coliseum earlier in December to accommodate the suspensions of Sidney and junior guard Dee Bost in the hopes of getting them both back on the court before the Southeastern Conference opener on Jan. 8 against Alabama.
Bost, who is not allowed to travel with the team per NCAA rules about suspended players, told the Starkville Daily News he wasn’t aware of the situation so he couldn’t comment on Sidney’s punishment.
Washington, who return all five starters from a year ago, come to the Islands sporting an 8-1 ledger following their 85-79 overtime victory at Santa Clara on Sunday. Their lone loss came to then No. 5 Kansas State nearly three weeks ago 63-58.
“There’s no question Washington State is one of the more experienced teams in the country,” Stansbury stated in a MSU statement. “They’ve got one of the better players in the country in (Klay) Thompson. He does so many things. But it’s not just him. They are very balanced.”
Depending on the outcome of today’s game, MSU will then play on Thursday against No. 15 Baylor or San Diego at 3:30 or 5:30 p.m., also on ESPNU.