Niagara to punish players accordingly after assault trial

Updated: October 11, 2006, 7:29 PM ET
Associated Press

LEWISTON, N.Y. -- Five Niagara basketball players will be disciplined whether or not they are convicted for their alleged involvement in an assault on a university baseball player last month.

Athletic director Ed McLaughlin said Tuesday the severity of the punishment will be determined once the trials of the five players are over next month. He added that the players, four of whom are under 21, at the very least showed poor judgment for being at a bar late at night.

"We're going to punish fairly and justly," McLaughlin said during a school sports luncheon. "I think the key thing for all of our students to understand, moving forward, is there are consequences for all their actions and putting themselves in some not particularly good situations. ... They all put themselves in a real bad spot."

Starters Charron Fisher and Stanley Hodge face the most serious charge of misdemeanor assault. They are accused of attacking Jeffrey St. Denis, a Purple Eagles pitcher who was pulled out of a parked van near a Niagara Falls bar in the early morning of Aug. 31.

St. Denis lost consciousness and was driven to a hospital, where he was treated for bruises to the face and chest, a police report said. Fisher and Hodge are scheduled for trial Oct. 17.

Hodge and teammates Lorenzo Miles, Kamau Gordon and Javonte Clanton are also charged with disorderly conduct and scheduled for trial Oct. 10. The five will then appear before a university judicial panel.

The Purple Eagles are two weeks from the start of practice leading to their season-opener against Binghamton on Nov. 16.

Purple Eagles coach Joe Mihalich declined comment, directing questions to McLaughlin. McLaughlin said he was "disappointed and embarrassed for the university" because of the attention brought to a school celebrating its 150th anniversary this month.

"I feel badly for our alums that this is something being talked about when this is a time they should be beaming with pride," McLaughlin said. "But we'll get back to the point where our athletic department is a source of pride for them."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press