Tuesday, December 1, 2009
A major mess for Michigan State
By ESPN.com staff
Michigan State has suspended eight football players in the wake of an alleged assault at a residence hall last month.
Head coach Mark Dantonio announced Tuesday night the following players have been suspended from all team activities: wide receiver Mark Dell, wide receiver B.J. Cunningham, wide receiver Fred Smith, running back Ashton Leggett, cornerback Chris L. Rucker, linebacker Brynden Trawick, nose tackle Ishmyl Johnson and defensive end Jamiihr Williams. Last week, Dantonio dismissed running back Glenn Winston and safety Roderick Jenrette for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Michigan State police have confirmed that all 10 players were present during the Nov. 22 assault at Rather Hall. While the school is not officially calling the players suspects, MSU police have identified 10 suspects following interviews with witnesses and victims and a review of on-site video. So you can do the math.
The investigation is ongoing, but police are trying to identify five additional suspects. The police will forward their findings to Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III early next week.
We'll have to wait and see what charges are filed and against whom, but the accounts of the assault, which took place during a potluck function sponsored by the Iota Phi Theta fraternity, don't look promising for Michigan State. The Winston connection is particularly damaging, given his role in an off-campus altercation last year that led to four months served in jail and an immediate return to the roster upon his release. Other football players were involved in the previous altercation.
Of the 10 players dismissed or suspended, six have started games this season. Michigan State's depth for an upcoming bowl game could take a major hit, depending on the length of the suspensions, though that should be the least of Dantonio's worries right now.
The bottom of Michigan State's news release reads: "MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis emphasized he and Dantonio share high expectations and standards for conduct and behavior of student-athletes."
A message left for Hollis on Tuesday night was not immediately returned.
More to come on this story.