Rucker reinstated, game status unclear

Michigan State defensive back Chris L. Rucker was reinstated after serving eight days in jail following a drunken-driving arrest.

Coach Mark Dantonio said it would be Rucker’s decision whether he travels with the team when the No. 5 Spartans play Saturday at No. 18 Iowa.

Rucker, a senior, started 11 games last season and the first six this season for the Spartans.

”The poor decision he made had need for serious consequences, which he has now met and resolved from a team and legal perspective,” Dantonio said in a statement. ”It does not, however, rise to a lifetime banishment.”

Rucker was released from jail Thursday after serving eight days for a probation violation.

He was arrested Oct. 10 in East Lansing on a charge of drunken driving and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving. Rucker was sentenced to 12 months of probation and 150 hours of community service for assault less than a year ago for his role in an on-campus fight.

Rucker had been indefinitely suspended and missed the past two games.

Dantonio defended his decision to reinstate Rucker, despite his proclaimed ”zero tolerance” of serious misconduct by his players.

”Zero tolerance does not mean automatic dismissal,” the coach said. ”To some critics, it might be seen as a low-percentage call or the wrong decision,” Dantonio said. ”It is neither. To me, our coaches, and our entire team — the men in the arena — it was the right call for the right reasons.”

Before the season began, Rucker said he accepted that the poor choices he and teammates made marred the program.

”When you make mistakes, you’ve got to be ready to pay the consequences,” said Rucker. ”I know it’s going to be a rough road with that, but I’m looking forward to us cleaning up our image.”