Penalty not yet known for WR, kick returner

Updated: November 20, 2003, 8:13 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Two Ohio State football players have been charged with disorderly conduct following a fight last weekend outside a dorm near Ohio Stadium.

Starting wide receiver Santonio Holmes and kick returner Troy Smith each were charged with misdemeanor counts Thursday, according to court documents.

The fourth-ranked Buckeyes play at No. 5 Michigan on Saturday to determine the Big Ten champion. A win could give Ohio State a chance to defend its national title in the Sugar Bowl.

Athletic director Andy Geiger said coach Jim Tressel had not informed him what team penalties the players could face, or whether they would make the trip to Ann Arbor for the game.

Tressel could not be reached for comment.

"There will be some discipline by the coach, but we won't get into what it is," Ohio State sports information director Steve Snapp said Thursday night.

Tressel was asked Tuesday whether the importance of the Michigan game would influence his decision on possible sanctions.

"I would hope not," Tressel said.

The university said five women also were charged with disorderly conduct.

Holmes and Smith were charged two days after Geiger said the investigation into the fight had ended and no charges would be filed.

"The facts changed and the outcome changed," Geiger said Thursday. "They learned more about it and what they told me changed."

A campus police report said four female students were assaulted about 4 a.m. Sunday, and a window of one woman's car was broken. The women had minor injuries, the report said.

Walter Madison, an Akron attorney who said he represents two of the third-year female students, said one sustained a broken wrist and another was choked until she lost consciousness.

"The athletic director has declared the investigation over and dubbed their (the players') behavior as if they were acting in some heroic capacity," Madison said. "Well, the injuries don't suggest that."

Tressel said the players had tried to break up a fight.

"The part that I can address is that we had some guys out much later than they should be and that we'll need to take care of things in-house to handle that," Tressel said.

Madison said he didn't think Ohio State would rush to reach a decision on discipline.

"I don't anticipate them to be in much of a hurry," he said. "However, their lack of forthrightness may be indicative or coincidental with the largest game of the year."

Holmes became a starter midway through the season after senior Drew Carter injured his knee.

The redshirt freshman has 22 catches for 391 yards and three touchdowns, and has been one of the most productive Buckeyes on offense in the past few games.

Smith, also a redshirt freshman, has returned five kickoffs for 83 yards and has carried three times for 14 yards. He is listed as a backup quarterback.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press