Players might have lied to Dantonio, Ferguson says
The eight MSU football players suspended from the team by head coach Mark Dantonio on Monday might have been suspended for lying to the coach, said Joel Ferguson, chairman of the MSU Board of Trustees, on Wednesday.
Ferguson said it isn’t clear how involved the players were in a Nov. 22 assault in the lounge of Rather Hall. Members of Iota Phi Theta said members of the football team took part in an assault while the fraternity was cleaning up after an event. Nothing has been settled on the issue and MSU police are continuing their investigation, Ferguson added.
“The coach just has a standard that players on the team are truthful and forthright,” he said.
Ferguson said he obtained his information from speaking with Dantonio.
Dantonio suspended sophomore wide receiver B.J. Cunningham, junior wide receiver Mark Dell, sophomore running back Ashton Leggett, junior cornerback Chris L. Rucker, sophomore wide receiver Fred Smith, redshirt freshman linebacker Brynden Trawick, sophomore defensive tackle Ishmyl Johnson and redshirt freshman linebacker Jamiihr Williams for violation of team rules, according to a statement released Tuesday afternoon by MSU.
Last week, sophomore running back Glenn Winston and junior safety Roderick Jenrette also were dismissed from the team.
The suspensions came after university officials identified the players as being present at the Rather Hall assault. Some of the witnesses at the event described the assailants as members of the football team.
University spokesman Terry Denbow wouldn’t comment further Wednesday night, saying the players were temporarily removed for a violation of team rules.
Ferguson said people have jumped to conclusions about the players level of involvement and they were suspended for not being truthful. The suspension has nothing to do with the fight, he said.
The press release distributed by the university stated the suspended members of the football team were present during the Rather Hall altercation. That incident possibly stemmed from another fight at The Small Planet, 16800 Chandler Road, on Nov. 21.
“People think they have trouble in the incident as opposed to just being there,” Ferguson said. “No one knows that they were involved.”