Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio spoke today about the need to regain respect after a "time of crisis" that has resulted in the indefinite suspensions of eight players and the dismissals of two others (running back Glenn Winston and safety Roderick Jenrette). None of the players will be back for the Spartans' upcoming bowl game.
Dantonio also hinted that further disciplinary action could be taken, pending the result of an MSU police investigation into a Nov. 22 fight at a residence hall.
"I'm going to react to what's there," Dantonio said. "Our integrity will not be questioned in terms of how we handled this situation."
The residence hall fight has been connected to an altercation the previous night at an East Lansing nightspot, but Dantonio was kept in the dark about the whole thing.
"There was no inkling," he said. "There was nothing. And again, that's part of the disappointment because obviously, there was more than one person that knew about this, and this could have been easily prevented with just a little bit of a tug on the shoulder. It didn't have to be me, but they could have gone to anybody in our program.
"That's why when you go to the level of suspension for the others; this could easily have been prevented. It wasn't like we weren't meeting that day. We had a 3:30 p.m. team meeting. We also had a feel‑good banquet, to celebrate our football team and celebrate our seniors, so it's a disappointment [no one came forward]."
A few other notes:
Dantonio reiterated that Winston and Jenrette won't be back with the team, but he still will give players second chances in the future. Winston and Jenrette are still enrolled in school, and Dantonio hasn't explored the possibility of revoking scholarships and doesn't sound like he will.
Dantonio is hopeful the personnel losses won't affect Michigan State's bowl situation. "We have obviously earned the right to go,' he said. "And we have represented ourselves very well in our last two bowl games. And if you check our track record, there have been no problems, none. We have competed and played very well, and we have played very competitively in the past two games against two very good football teams."
He explained his reasons for the suspensions: "They put themselves at risk by going there, and given the opportunity that they had to immediately come to me and tell me that there was a problem; it didn't happen. So it was two reasons, and either one, either one, is sufficient enough to be in this situation -- to be suspended."