NCF Nation: Jamiihir Williams

MSU reinstates suspended players

January, 13, 2010
1/13/10
5:28
PM ET
Mark Dantonio wanted to put a positive spin on today's season wrap-up news conference, but the Michigan State coach couldn't avoid the elephant in the room.

The recent wave of player suspensions and dismissals remains the top story around Michigan State, though linebacker Greg Jones' return to school is significant as well. Dantonio has reinstated seven players suspended following a Nov. 22 assault at a campus residence hall, five of whom are facing misdemeanor assault and conspiracy charges.

The suspended players who remain at Michigan State were allowed to attend a recent team meeting when the squad assembled following winter break.

"They have been outside of the football facility and everything to do with football for the last six or seven weeks," Dantonio said. "And at this point in time, we are going to welcome them back into that environment for clarity purposes. They are on our football team."

Four suspended players, including two who face charges stemming from the residence hall incident, have transferred from Michigan State. A total of nine players were charged Dec. 10 with misdemeanor conspiracy to commit an assault and battery as well as misdemeanor assault and battery. Two of those players, running back Glenn Winston and safety Roderick Jenrette, have been dismissed from the team.

"We are not doing anything as a team right now," Dantonio said, "but at least to sit in a team meeting room for our initial meeting back, they were welcomed to be in there, and then we will make decisions based on what happens at a later date."

Here's a look at where everyone stands:
  • The following players who face assault and conspiracy charges have been reinstated: cornerback Chris L. Rucker, offensive lineman J’Michael Deane, wide receiver Mark Dell, wide receiver B.J. Cunningham, wide receiver Fred Smith.
  • Wide receivers Chris D. Rucker and Donald Spencer, who were suspended for being at the residence hall but never charged, also are back with the team.
  • Running back Ashton Leggett, who was suspended and charged, has transferred to Illinois State. Defensive end Jamiihr Williams, who was suspended and charged, has transferred to Northeast Mississippi Community College.
  • Linebacker Brynden Trawick and nose tackle Ishmyl Johnson, who were present at the residence hall but never charged, also have transferred from Michigan State.
  • Wide receiver Myles White, who was suspended for a situation unrelated to the residence hall assault, also is back with the team.

The players facing charges are scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning for pre-trial hearings. Ingham County prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III told the Detroit Free Press that no plea agreement is in place at this time, though that could change.

A major mess for Michigan State

December, 1, 2009
12/01/09
6:33
PM ET
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.

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