ANN ARBOR, Michigan. — Seven Michigan State players were charged for their actions during the postgame scrimmage in the Michigan Stadium tunnel last month, according to a statement Wednesday from the Washtenaw County Attorney’s Office.
The most serious charge is against cornerback Khary Crump, who faces a felony assault count. 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 beatings.
No Michigan player faces charges, which were announced ahead of the teams’ final regular season games. no. 3 Michigan plays rival No. 2 Ohio State on the road on Saturday for the Big Ten East Division title. A few hours later, the Spartans closed the season at no. 11 Penn State, needing a win to become bowl eligible.
Scuffles broke out in the Michigan Stadium tunnel on October 8. 29 after the Wolverines beat the Spartans 29-7. Social media posts showed Michigan State players pushing, punching and kicking Michigan’s Ja’Den McBurrows in and near a hallway that leads to none of the locker rooms. Brown, Grose and Young are seen on video having sex with McBurrows.
McBurrows and defensive back Gemon Green walked up the tunnel, walking alongside the Spartans, after the game as much of the Michigan team was pulling the Spartans off the field after beating their infield rivals for the first time in three years.
Green, in another post, is seen surrounded by police as he yells through the tunnel at Michigan State players.
Crump in one video appears to be swinging his helmet at a Michigan player. This could explain the more serious charge, which carries a maximum sentence of four years’ imprisonment. State law describes felony assault as an attack “using a knife, iron bar, mace, brass knuckles, or other dangerous weapon without intent to commit murder or to inflict grievous bodily harm.”
A misdemeanor conviction of assault carries a prison sentence of up to one year, while a misdemeanor assault and battery carries a maximum sentence of 93 days behind bars.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said one of the players, who he did not identify, may have had a broken nose. He also said Green was punched by a Spartans player and McBurrows was attacked when he tried to help.
The statement from the prosecutor’s office did not provide details on the charges, including who is accused of hitting whom. He added that the office will not have further comments as the case progresses. It is unclear when the accused 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 appreciated “the thoughtful and deliberate approach of the Washtenaw County Attorney’s Office to this unfortunate incident.”
“We also want to express our concern for all the players involved, especially those who have been injured,” Ono said. “The University of Michigan will continue to cooperate fully with any further reviews 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.”
Asked if his client could sue over the melee, Mars said after conferring with Green and his father, they agreed with his recommendation to “take no action on the tunnel incident until the end of the season.”
“I don’t want any of this to be a distraction to Michigan football or Gemon either,” Mars said.
Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker has suspended eight players — including Malcolm Jones, who has not been charged — for their roles in the scrum.
After Oct. 29, then Michigan State President Samuel Stanley publicly apologized for the “violent” skirmish. His departure was unrelated to the fight in Ann Arbor last month.
“I am extremely saddened by this incident and the unacceptable behavior represented by members of our football program,” Stanley said in a statement. “On behalf of Michigan State University, my sincere apologies to the University of Michigan and to the student-athletes who were injured.”
After the allegations were announced Wednesday, Michigan State Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff released a statement saying the school “will continue to evaluate the matter and cooperate with any investigative reviews.”
“While we do not condone the actions some football players took on Oct. 10. 29, we will support our student-athletes through this process,” he said. “MSU is a strong believer in restorative justice practices and harmful action education.”
He added that universities “must make our respective environments safe places for competition.” She said she is committed to making “significant changes” to that end and will report back later this year. Woodruff didn’t explain what those changes might be.
Tarm reported from Chicago.
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