The Michigan State student newspaper STATE NEWS reports this afternoon that Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio suspended eight Spartan players indefinitely today as campus police continue an investigation into a dorm attack November 22.
Police have identified 10 suspects from the incident and are looking into leads relating to five additional people, a release from the university stated. Police identified the suspects by talking with witnesses and reviewing video tape from Rather Hall. The State News filed a Freedom of Information Request on Monday seeking the video footage.
Players B.J. Cunningham, Mark Dell, Ashton Leggett, Chris L. Rucker, Fred Smith, Brynden Trawick, Ishmyl Johnson and Jamiihr Williams were all cited in a school press release today as being identified at the site of the attack at Rather Hall.
Cunningham, Dell and Rucker are starters.
Charges have not yet been filed against any of the eight players or former MSU players Roderick Jenrette and Glenn Winston. The latter were kicked off the team after news of the melee broke.
Members of Iota Phi Theta were finishing an event in the lounge of Rather Hall when witnesses said assailants, including members of the football team, started an altercation. The fraternity also stated members of the team also were involved in a fight at The Small Planet, 16800 Chandler Road, on Nov. 21. Police were not involved in that incident, but the venue was shut down immediately following the incident.
Charges could be filed against individual players as early as next week.
Michigan State right now is projected by CBSSports.com as playing in the Alamo Bowl against Texas Tech on Jan. 2. Based on the nature of the investigation, there’s always a possibility Dantonio will clear some of the suspended players back onto the team for that game. But if he doesn’t, the Spartans will be seriously depleted against the Red Raiders.
After getting burned for giving players second chances, like Winston, it appears Dantonio is taking a conservative approach. The bowl game isn’t meaningless, but it’s a lot less important than the overall perception of the program. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Dantonio kicks more players off the team, depending on what the investigation turns up.
The coach needs to make a statement to media, fans and his team that he’s not running a renegade program.