Last month, Michigan State suspended tailback Glenn Winston for his role in an on-campus fight back in December. Well, wait, that doesn’t accurately describe what Winston did. He sent a fellow athlete to the hospital with serious head injuries. This A) places his fighting skills above 95% of traditional athletes, who specialize in woofing and slapfighting, and B) pissed the law off beyond belief.
He eventually pled guilty to two misdemeanor assault charges, one of which was aggravated, and given six months of jail time. That’s six months where he loses his place, his car, his stuff, his boys, his family, and his freedom. What he won’t lose, though, is his scholarship.
Citing NCAA rules, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio told reporters this week that Winston remained on schollie, despite, y’know, aggravated freaking assault. This is because Winston has been suspended, not kicked off the team, so they can’t just take away everything that comes with the scholarship for the six months that Winston is incarcerated without issuing the old “GTFO.” And there is quite a bit that goes with that scholarship:
If Winston remains on the team and eventually gets his suspension lifted, he could receive a redshirt for his sophomore season upon completion of the jail sentence if he remains on course academically and gets approval from Dantonio.
Winston, 19, is expected to receive academic tutoring for his classes while in jail and is expected to undergo 24 months of probation once his sentence is completed.
Whether you think this is okay probably directly coincides wiith your notions and expectations of what a jail sentence should entail. If a person thinks jail should be no place for protection from punition whatsoever, this is outrageous. To such a person, the idea that Winston can still enjoy the fruits of his scholarship while in jail, then maybe go back to playing football once his sentence is up, is absurd. To this person, it’s just another sign that our justice system is horribly flawed.
If, on the other hand, you look at jail as one step of rehabilitation, this is almost good news; to this person, it’s downright encouraging that Winston won’t be away from his studies while he serves his sentence. This person would also believe that the state’s punishment stops after the jail time and probation, and that anything past that is between Winston and his coach.
So which side are you on?