ANN ARBOUR, Mich. — Seven Michigan State players were charged for their actions during the postgame melee in the Michigan Stadium tunnel last month, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Washtenaw County District Attorney’s Office.
The most serious charge is against cornerback Khary Crump, who faces one count of felony assault. The charges against the other six are misdemeanors. Linebacker Itayvion “Tank” Brown, safety Angelo Grose, cornerback Justin White, defensive end Brandon Wright and defensive end Zion Young are each charged with one count of aggravated assault, and linebacker Jacoby Windmon faces one count of assault and battery.
No Michigan player faces charges, which were announced before the teams’ final regular season games. No. 3 Michigan takes on No. 2 rival Ohio State on the road Saturday with the Big Ten East division title on the line. Hours later, the Spartans close out the season at No. 11 Penn State, needing win to become eligible for bowling.
Scuffles broke out in the Michigan Stadium tunnel on October 29 after the Wolverines beat the Spartans 29-7. Social media posts showed Michigan State players pushing, hitting and kicking Michigan’s Ja’Den McBurrows in and near a hallway that doesn’t lead to any of the locker rooms. Brown, Grose and Young are seen on video getting physical with McBurrows.
McBurrows and defensive back Gemon Green walked up the tunnel, walking alongside the Spartans, after the game as much of the Michigan squad waved the Spartans off the field after beating their state rivals for the first time in three years.
Green, in another post, is seen surrounded by police as he shouts through the tunnel at Michigan State players.
Crump in one video appears to swing his helmet at a Michigan player. This could explain the most serious charge, which carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. State law describes felony assault as an attack “using a knife, iron bar, club, brass knuckles, or other dangerous weapon without intent to commit murder or inflict serious bodily harm. bodily”.
A conviction on a misdemeanor count of assault carries a jail term of up to one year, while a misdemeanor assault and battery carries a jail term of up to one year. maximum of 93 days behind bars.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said one of the players, whom he did not identify, may have had a broken nose. He also said Green was hit by a Spartans player and McBurrows was attacked while trying to help him.
The statement from the prosecutor’s office did not provide any details about the allegations, including who is accused of punching whom. He added that the office would have no further comment as the case progressed. It was unclear when the charged players will make their first court appearances.
Michigan State’s athletic director and coach did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Michigan President Santa J. Ono said in a statement Wednesday that the school appreciates the “thoughtful and deliberate approach of the Washtenaw County District Attorney’s Office to this unfortunate incident.”
“We also want to express our concern for all the players involved, especially those who were injured,” Ono said. “The University of Michigan will continue to cooperate fully with any further review of this matter.”
A lawyer representing Green, Tom Mars, said after the charges were filed that he was “not at all surprised by the prosecutor’s decision”.
When asked if his client could take legal action over the melee, Mars said that after speaking with Green and his father, they agreed with his recommendation “to take no action regarding the tunnel incident until the end of the season”.
“I don’t want any of this to be a distraction for Michigan football and Gemon either,” Mars said.
Michigan State coach Mel Tucker has suspended eight players – including Malcolm Jones, who has not been charged – for their role in the scrimmage.
After the October 29 incident, Michigan State President Samuel Stanley publicly apologized for the “violent” skirmish. His departure was unrelated to the brawl in Ann Arbor last month.
“I am extremely saddened by this incident and the unacceptable behavior described by members of our football program,” Stanley said in a statement at the time. “On behalf of Michigan State University, my sincerest apologies to the University of Michigan and the student-athletes who were injured.”
After the charges were announced on Wednesday, Interim Michigan State President Teresa K. Woodruff released a statement saying the school would “continue to evaluate this matter and cooperate with any investigative reviews.” .
“While we do not condone the actions taken by certain football players on October 29, we will support our student-athletes through this process,” she said. “MSU strongly believes in restorative justice practices and education around harmful actions.”
She added that universities “need to make our respective environments safe places for competition”. She said she was committed to making “meaningful changes” to that end and would report back by the end of the year. Woodruff did not specify what those changes might be.
Tarm reported from Chicago.
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