9 Michigan State players face misdemeanor charges
Authorities charged nine Michigan State football players with
misdemeanor assault and conspiracy Wednesday following a dormitory
brawl last month that has left the team short-handed for its Jan. 2
All nine players were charged with conspiracy to commit assault
and battery, according to Ingham County prosecutor Stuart Dunnings
III and campus police chief James Dunlap. Each was also charged
with at least one count of assault or assault and battery.
Coach Mark Dantonio has suspended 11 players, up from eight
following the Nov. 22 incident. Two days afterward, he dismissed
running back Glenn Winston and defensive back Roderick Jenrette,
both of whom have been charged in the incident.
The players could face up to a one-year maximum sentence on the
conspiracy charge, and up to 93 days on the other charges. All are
Dunnings said more charges could be filed.
“There’s an ongoing investigation, so I wouldn’t rule that
out,” the prosecutor said.
The suspensions come as Michigan State (6-6) prepares for a Jan.
2 game with Texas Tech (8-4) in the Alamo Bowl matchup of Big Ten
and Big 12 teams.
Michigan State spokesman Terry Denbow said none of the suspended
players is allowed into the weight room, study areas or other parts
of the football building. They will not travel with the team to the
game in San Antonio.
“They don’t have access to any of the activities,” he said.
“None of them are preparing for the bowl game.”
Karl Price of Louisville, Ky., national president of Iota Phi
Theta fraternity, has said the dispute started with a run-in
between a few football players and members of the fraternity at an
East Lansing nightclub on Nov. 21.
One night later, Michigan State held its annual football awards
banquet. Roughly 90 minutes after it ended, a group of players
allegedly went across the street to Rather Hall, where the
fraternity was wrapping up a potluck dinner in the dorm lounge.
Versions of what happened next vary. Some have said 15 or more
people – some wearing ski masks – got involved in a brief fight.
Others say there were no ski masks and that most in attendance were
Campus police have not said if any injuries resulted from the
altercation. Iota Phi Theta said one of its members was treated at
When the bowl game was announced on Sunday, Michigan State
quarterback Kirk Cousins said it will hurt not having the suspended
“My heart breaks for those guys,” he said.
Among the eight players Dantonio originally suspended were three
starters: defensive back Chris L. Rucker and receivers B.J.
Cunningham and Mark Dell. All were charged Wednesday.
The four suspended nonstarters who were charged are Fred Smith,
Ashton Leggett, Jamiihr Williams and J’Michael Deane. The suspended
players who weren’t charged are Brynden Trawick, Ishmyl Johnson,
Donald Spencer and Chris D. Rucker, no relation to Chris L.
Denbow said Dantonio suspended three additional players as he
became aware of their participation in the dispute.
The university is continuing its own police investigation. None
of the players’ standing as students is affected, Denbow said.
Associated Press Writer Tim Martin contributed to this