Thursday, April 1, 2010
Wilson gets jail time, seeks return to Spartans
Michigan State nose tackle Oren Wilson will serve 21 days in jail for his involvement in the November residence hall assault.
Wilson's sentence Wednesday wasn't a major surprise, as he had pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor assault and battery after admitting to kicking one person and punching another in the Nov. 22 incident. He also received 12 months probation and community service.
All 11 sentences have now been handed out to the Michigan State players who pleaded guilty to assault. Four have received jail time -- Glenn Winston (180 days), Roderick Jenrette (90 days), Wilson and Fred Smith (five days) -- while the others got probation and community service. Four players charged were reinstated last week for spring practice, while five are seeking transfers and both Winston and Jenrette were dismissed Nov. 24.
The really interesting news coming out of Wilson's sentencing hearing were the statements made by Wilson's lawyer, Andrew Abood, to reporters. Abood said that Wilson wants to return to the team and would soon reach out to Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio.
Last week, Dantonio said Wilson was in the process of seeking a transfer.
“Oren’s first choice would be to stay at Michigan State and be on the football team in fall,” Abood said. “He’s the type of guy who would be wanted in the trenches when MSU plays Michigan. He should be back on the football team.”
"My understanding -- and I haven’t heard this from inside Duffy Daugherty [football offices] -- is that everybody involved except [Glenn] Winston and [Roderick] Jenrette -- would have a chance to be reinstated to the team," Abood said. "This is Oren’s first mistake, and I believe he’s a person of character. Hopefully, he will get another chance."
Dantonio now faces an important decision. He has said he will continue to give players second chances, even after the embarrassing residence hall mess. On the other hand, he doesn't want to come off too soft on discipline, a criticism that some have already raised.
Wilson's case is unique because his involvement in the assault wasn't known until mid January, and unlike 13 other players present at the residence hall, Wilson participated in the Alamo Bowl. The other 13 players had been suspended before the bowl game.
Translation: Wilson hid his involvement from Dantonio and the coaching staff until authorities identified him. That's a pretty major betrayal of trust, as there's no way Dantonio would have allowed Wilson to play in the Alamo Bowl had he known of Wilson's role at Rather Hall.
Of all the players not returning to MSU, Wilson was arguably the most valuable. He has started 26 games at nose tackle and would anchor a young defensive line in 2010.
But if Dantonio reinstates the senior, he should expect to take a lot of heat from the outside. And if Wilson does get another chance, he likely would face a multiple-game suspension to begin the 2010 season. Anything less would really look soft of MSU's part.