MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won’t start on Senior Day against West Virginia, nor will the quarterback serve as a captain, punishment for his crotch-grabbing incident in the Sooners’ victory at Kansas.
Coach Lincoln Riley announced the disciplinary action Monday, occasionally choking up as he said Mayfield “has got a great heart and I’m proud as hell to be his coach.”
Mayfield’s offseason arrest for public intoxication in Fayetteville, Ark., brought only an internal punishment, and the senior apologized after planting an OU flag on Ohio State’s field following the Sooners’ 31-16 win in Week 2.
“This program has very, very high standards,” Riley said. “When they’re not met, there’s got to be consequences. At the same time, he’s a young person. When I was a young person, I made a lot of mistakes too. That’s part of it.
“I think it’s important for everybody here, (and) across the country, to keep it in perspective. Everybody, not just Baker, they’re still just young men. They’re not adults. They’re still learning.”
Riley referenced the cult of celebrity that surrounds a Heisman frontrunner like Mayfield, who has thrown and rushed for 128 touchdowns in three seasons at Oklahoma.
“It’s almost like Tiger Woods playing golf. You’d see every single swing he makes.”
Some Heisman voters have referenced the award’s “character clause” as reason not to pick Mayfield.
“It’s difficult for me to say,” Riley said. “I know the kid good enough to know that he’s a really good person. If we’re judging the Heisman on kids who haven’t made mistakes, we’re not going to have very many candidates.”