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Venric Mark suspended for first two games of 2014

Northwestern's star running back won't play against Cal or Northern Illinois due to a violation of team rules.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Friday afternoon newsdump was strong today. First, the ground-shaking decision in the O'Bannon case -- the NCAA lost! Huzzah, or maybe not quite! -- and then Northwestern chimed in with some news of their own: Venric Mark is suspended for the first two games of the 2014 season.

It was the dreaded "violation of team rules," with Mark saying in a statement that "I made a mistake and am prepared to deal with the consequences of that." We don't know precisely what that means, and maybe we never will.

On the one hand this is depressing, because after suffering through injuries all of 2013 while the team sputtered to a 5-7 finish, we were hoping to see 12 or 13 games of Venric Mark in 2014. That won't be the case.

On the other hand, this isn't the worst thing ever to happen. First up on the schedule is Cal, and last year NU beat Cal in a game where Mark only had 29 yards on 11 carries as he dealt with a hamstring injury. Treyvon Green stepped up and had 129 yards, and he'll be stepping up once again as NU's feature back with Mark out. After Cal is Northern Illinois, a decent team, but with Heisman hopeful Jordan Lynch moved on to the NFL, they're not the MAC juggernaut they've been the past few years.

It's a bummer that Mark will miss two games, but the Wildcats still have a good chance of going 2-0 without him. Just... don't get suspended or hurt in the last ten games of the regular season, man.