Some will decry the move as March Madness gone too far, but I say it will undoubtedly go down as one of the most courageous coaching disciplinary decisions ever.

As was reported first by an Indianapolis television station (see link below), Butler basketball coach Brad Stevens has suspended four of his five starters for unspecified “team rule violations.”

As a result, the Bulldogs are now short-handed for their Final Four semifinal match-up against Virginia Commonwealth University.

Brad Stevens makes decision “based on principle

You can read about it in a story posted this morning.

The bright side: if Butler somehow manages to win on Saturday, the four suspended players–all but Matt Howard got the temporary heave-ho–will be back in the lineup for the NCAA championship game on Monday night.

“I won’t go into details, but it’s based on principle that I’ve come to this difficult decision,” Stevens said. “You can’t spell team with the letter `i,’ unless you want to spell it incorrectly.”

P.S. As must be abundantly clear by now, the post on Friday (aka April Fool’s Day) was indeed a bit of April 1 mischief, courtesy of Inside Edge PR. At least four readers confessed, in various ways, that they believed–at least for a few moments–the account of Brad Stevens suspending four of Butler’s five starters. Now the question is, how will the Bulldogs win over mighty Connecticut, even with all five starters suited up for action?

-Matt Baron, April 4, 2011, 7:30 am.

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