Michigan State has reinstated seven football players suspended from the team in the wake of a November assault at a campus residence hall.
Head coach Mark Dantonio said Wednesday that the players, who haven't participated in team activities since early December, were allowed to attend a meeting when the team reassembled following winter break. None of the suspended players participated in the Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2.
"As I've always said, I'm not going to alienate our players," Dantonio said. "We are not doing anything as a team right now, but at least to sit in a team meeting room for our initial meeting back, they were welcomed to be in there, and then we will make decisions based on what happens at a later date.
"But I think it's important that we be supportive and understand that it's a football team. They are on our football team."
Nine football players were charged Dec. 10 with misdemeanor conspiracy to commit an assault and battery as well as misdemeanor assault and battery in connection with the Nov. 22 incident.
Two of the players charged, running back Glenn Winston and safety Roderick Jenrette, were dismissed from the team.
Two other players who face charges, running back Ashton Leggett and defensive end Jamiihr Williams, have since transferred from the program, Dantonio said. Two more players who were present at the residence hall and suspended but not charged, linebacker Brynden Trawick and nose tackle Ishmyl Johnson, also have transferred from Michigan State.
Five players who face charges have been reinstated: cornerback Chris L. Rucker, offensive lineman J'Michael Deane and wide receivers Mark Dell, B.J. Cunningham and Fred Smith. Wide receivers Chris D. Rucker and Donald Spencer, suspended for being at the residence hall but never charged, also are back with the team.
The players facing charges are scheduled to appear Thursday in court for a pre-trial hearing.
Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com