Current, former Spartans plead guilty
Four more current or former Michigan State football players have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and conspiracy in connection with a Nov. 22 incident at a campus residence hall.
Wide receiver Fred Smith and offensive lineman J'Michael Deane, who are still on the team, and former players Roderick Jenrette and Jamiihr Williams entered their pleas as part of agreements that should lighten their sentences.
Smith pleaded guilty to misdemeanor conspiracy to commit assault and battery, while a charge of assault and battery was dropped. Deane pleaded guilty to assault, while a conspiracy charge was dropped.
Williams, a defensive end who has left the team, reached the same plea agreement as Deane.
Jenrette, one of two players dismissed from the team immediately after the incident, pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor aggravated assault and one count of assault and battery. Misdemeanor charges of assault and conspiracy were dropped against him.
All four men are scheduled to be sentenced March 19.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said last month that the players facing charges remained suspended but still could attend some team meetings. Their ultimate fate with the team will be determined at a later time.
The residence hall incident took place following a potluck function being put on by the Iota Phi Theta fraternity. Karl Price, Iota Phi Theta's national president, told ESPN.com that the potluck event was over by the time the football players arrived.
The fraternity's internal investigation identified three victims -- one Iota Phi Theta member, Brent Mitchell, and two other Michigan State students -- as well as five or six eyewitnesses at the residence hall. Mitchell was briefly hospitalized after the incident.
"Apparently, this group came in with the specific purpose of looking for Iotas," Price said. "The only reason they knew Mitchell was an Iota was because he was wearing a [fraternity] shirt. From what I understand, at least four of them jumped on him."
Smith told The Detroit News on Thursday that Dantonio has not told the suspended players much about their futures. Smith added that the suspended players aren't being allowed to work out at the team facility or attend meetings.
The lawyer for Michigan State defensive lineman Oren Wilson told local reporters that his client will plead not guilty at a Feb. 25 pretrial hearing. Two more Spartans players facing charges, Chris L. Rucker and Myles White, also have pretrial hearings on that day.
Former Spartans running back Glenn Winston, reportedly at the center of the incident along with Jenrette, had his case adjourned Thursday.
Wide receivers Mark Dell and B.J. Cunningham pleaded guilty to assault last month and are scheduled for sentencing March 8. Former running back Ashton Leggett pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor assault last month and will be sentenced next week.
Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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