We're starting to get more information about a Nov. 22 fight at a Michigan State campus residence hall that has landed 10 football players in hot water.
According to multiple reports, it all started after midnight on Nov. 22, hours after Michigan State got pounded by Penn State in the regular-season finale. A fight broke out at a nightspot not far from campus during a party sponsored by the Iota Phi Theta fraternity.
The father of suspended Spartans wide receiver Mark Dell told the Detroit Free Press that running back Glenn Winston was confronted at the party after dancing with someone's girlfriend. Another Spartans football player, who has not been identified, was cited for possessing alcohol and public urination outside The Small Planet nightspot.
According to Mark Dell Sr., Winston told his teammates about the incident and the next night a group of them went to a residence hall where a potluck hosted by the same fraternity was being held. Winston allegedly was looking for his attackers the previous evening.
"I think it was more: Glenn is their friend, and Glenn may have asked them to come over there," Dell Sr. told the newspaper. "And I think they stupidly said, 'OK.' And when they went inside, I think one thing led to another."
Michigan State police have identified 10 suspects in the residence hall fight. Though the school isn't naming any players as official suspects, it did identify 10 who were present. Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio has suspended eight players and dismissed Winston and safety Roderick Jenrette for unspecified violations of team rules, so you can do the math.
Dell Sr. said his son and suspended teammate B.J. Cunningham, also a wide receiver, didn't actually participate in any fighting, though they did lie to Dantonio about being there.
“First of all, my son said there were absolutely no ski masks,” Dell said. “There wasn’t a big fight like people are trying to make it out to be. If 15 players had conspired to go to this party and jump on some people, it would have been chaos.”
Other accounts describe a pretty chaotic scene, and the fact that MSU police are trying to identify more suspects makes it tough to believe the fight was a small event.
It's no surprise to see parents defending their kids, and Dell Sr. could very well be correct about his son's and Cunningham's lack of involvement. Before I really weigh in on this -- and trust me, I will -- I want to see if charges are filed, and who gets charged.
The fact that Winston could be at the center of another fight involving fellow students is the most potentially disturbing part. He spent nearly four months in jail for his role in an October 2008 assault that left Spartans hockey player A.J. Sturges seriously injured. Dantonio reinstated Winston to the team and the practice field the same day he was released from prison.
Following Winston's reinstatement, Sturges released a statement to ESPN.com asking for a clearer policy on handling athletes convicted of violent crimes. Part of Sturges' statement read: "While I hope what happened to me will never happen again, I am afraid the precedent set by this decision will only enable similar incidents in the future. With no formal athletic standards or means to deal with student athletes convicted of a violent crime, this cycle will continue."
In reading the police report from the incident last year and the reports from this alleged incident, there are some very troubling similarities.
Again, no one has been charged yet, but this doesn't look good for Dantonio and the football program.