After he was placed on administrative leave Monday, the fate of Montana State University head football coach Mark Samson continues to hang in the balance.
A possible announcement on the fate of Samson's position at Northern could come sometime today, but MSU-Northern officials haven't commented, outside of Northern spokesman Jim Potter saying Tuesday: "This is a personnel matter, which is under review at this time. Until this is resolved, we can provide you with no additional information. ... We hope to resolve this situation as quickly as possible."
As rumors continue to swirl, many people feel left in the dark about what is happening with the Northern football program.
Among them is Choteau's Nels DeBruckyer. DeBruckyer, whose son is a sophomore linebacker for the Lights, called the Havre Daily News this morning to voice his concerns about the current situation. DeBruckyer is a Northern Montana College graduate.
"My thoughts are that this is completely wrong," DeBruckyer said. "I feel like they are destroying a man's reputation, as well as the football program. If you want to get rid of a coach, do it after the season. Right now, the program is in turmoil because they're doing this at the start of fall camp, and only two weeks before they have their first game. It's just wrong. The players deserve better."
Indeed, the Lights are set to play their season-opening game Aug. 30 when they travel to Butte to face Montana Tech. Northern has continued to conduct practices as scheduled, with defensive coordinator Jake Eldridge and wide receivers coach Scott Leeds stepping up to run the practices. The Lights are scheduled to practice twice today.
However, as players tried Tuesday morning to seek answers from Chancellor Jim Limbaugh as to why Samson isn't the one leading their practices, the fate of Samson's position with the Lights is certainly overshadowing the start of the 2014 football season.
"If he did something wrong, we shouldn't be kept in the dark," DeBruckyer said. "These players support their coach and deserve to know what's going on."
Samson is in his 11th season with the Lights. He took over for the late Walt Currie in 2004, after Currie led the resurrection of the football program, which had been dormant at Northern for nearly three decades. In just his third season, Samson guided Northern to a historic win over Carroll College, a 9-3 record and MSU-N's only NAIA playoff appearance in school history.
"I love Northern," DeBruckyer said. "And there's 100 kids who are up there right now because of Mark Samson. Those kids could have chose to play football and go to school at a lot of different colleges but they chose Northern and chose Havre because of Mark Samson - because of the coach and man that he is. They came for him, and those players deserve better than this. The entire community and all the supporters of the program deserve better."