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8 members of football team suspended Monday for being present during Rather Hall incident

December 1, 2009


Eight members of the MSU football team were suspended by head coach Mark Dantonio on Monday following the ongoing results of an investigation by MSU police into a Nov. 22 altercation at Rather Hall.

It is unclear how long their suspension will last.

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.

According to the release: “Pending completion of the police investigation, eight members of the MSU football team identified Monday as being present at the Rather Hall incident were immediately suspended from all daily team-related activities by Coach Mark Dantonio. B.J. Cunningham, Mark Dell, Ashton Leggett, Chris L. Rucker, Fred Smith, Brynden Trawick, Ishmyl Johnson and Jamiihr Williams have been suspended for violation of team rules.”

MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said she was unsure what charges could be filed against the suspects. The case could be forwarded to the the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office early next week, the release stated.

Three of the players — Cunningham, Dell and Rucker — are starters on the football team.

Cunningham and Dell were two of MSU’s top three receivers this season. Cunningham ranked second on the team in receptions (48), touchdowns (four) and receiving yards (641), while Dell, a three-year starter, had 26 catches for 449 yards and one touchdown.

Rucker, a two-year starter at cornerback, led the team with seven breakups and ranked fourth with 58 tackles

Sophomore running back Glenn Winston and junior safety Roderick Jenrette were dismissed from the team last week for their involvement in the incident.

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.

MSU police have been mum about the incident and will not release details of the police report, saying the investigation is open. Although the department has regular meetings with The State News and regularly discusses details of open cases, the Rather Hall incident is being treated differently.

For more on this story, keep checking and see Wednesday’s State News.

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