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Monday, March 22, 2010
Winston sentenced to six months in jail

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Here's the saddest thing about Glenn Winston's tumultuous tenure at Michigan State.

If you Google his name and "sentenced" and "six months in jail," you come up with two separate sets of entries.

For the second time in his young life, Winston was sentenced to six months in jail Monday for his role in the November residence hall fight. Winston pleaded guilty last month to two misdemeanors -- conspiracy to commit assault and battery, and assault and battery -- and to violating his parole from a previous assault conviction.

He served four months in jail last summer for his role in an off-campus assault that left Spartans hockey player A.J. Sturges seriously injured. Michigan State reinstated Winston to the team on the same day he was released from jail after serving a reduced sentence.

Eleven current or former Michigan State players have pleaded guilty in the Nov. 22 incident at Rather Hall, which took place following a fraternity (Iota Phi Theta) potluck function. Three players -- Winston, former safety Roderick Jenrette and current wide receiver Fred Smith -- have received jail time and probation. Winston and Jenrette, the two reportedly at the center of the incident, were dismissed from the team Nov. 24. Smith has been indefinitely suspended.

Seven players have received probation and community service, including wide receiver Myles White, who was sentenced Monday. White, by the way, tells The State News that he intends to transfer from Michigan State.

Nose tackle Oren Wilson is the last player waiting for a sentence, which will be handed down March 31. Head coach Mark Dantonio is expected to rule on the players' status after all the legal proceedings have concluded.

I keep thinking back to Dantonio's surprising decision to reinstate Winston in August. I'm not against second chances, and Winston, who comes from a very rough background, absolutely deserved one. But Michigan State took an enormous risk in bringing him back to campus, especially since his actions directly impacted another student-athlete (Sturges). As we now know, the decision totally backfired on Dantonio.

Helping Winston get a fresh start at another school might have been the more prudent choice.

Three days after Winston's reinstatement, Sturges issued a statement to ESPN.com that read in part: "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."

Less than four months later, Winston was at the center of a similar incident, another assault involving Michigan State students that left an even larger stain on the football program.

Michigan State has some work to do to remove that stain. Spring practice begins Tuesday.