Michigan State Football Player Who Hit Rival Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanors
A Michigan State football player who had been facing a felony charge for striking an opposing player with his helmet during a skirmish inside the stadium’s tunnel last season pleaded guilty on Thursday to misdemeanors, his lawyer said.
In a deal with prosecutors, the player, Khary Crump, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of assault and battery and one count of disorderly conduct in connection with the tussle on Oct. 29, which took place after the University of Michigan defeated its rival Michigan State, 29-7, according to his lawyer, Mike Nichols.
The felonious assault charge that Mr. Crump had originally faced was dropped by prosecutors, and his criminal record will be expunged once he completes a program under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which gives people between the ages of 18 and 25 a clean record if they successfully complete probation, Mr. Nichols said.
Mr. Crump is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 31. The assault and battery charge carries a maximum sentence of 93 days in jail. Mr. Nichols said that he did not expect his client would be sentenced to serve any jail time.
According to The Associated Press, Judge Cedric Simpson of the Washtenaw County District Court appeared to be pleased with the deal, and he quipped about the role that his alma mater, the University of Maryland, had played.
“This was handled in great fashion, but it could have only been done so by a Maryland Terrapin,” he said, referring to the nickname for the university’s athletic teams.
The plea deal with the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office, which did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Thursday, came about two months after a video showed Mr. Crump and six other players getting into a scuffle with a Michigan player, Ja’Den McBurrows.
The video showed Mr. Crump swinging his helmet at Mr. McBurrows inside the tunnel at Michigan Stadium, and it appeared to show Mr. Crump’s teammates also hitting the defensive back as the University of Michigan fight song blared in the background and staffers and officers swarmed in.
Six other Michigan State players were charged with misdemeanors in connection with the episode.
Mr. Crump’s actions prompted outrage from football fans. Some, Mr. Nichols said, directly messaged Mr. Crump on social media and crudely expressed their negative opinions of him. Jim Harbaugh, the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, said at a news conference in October that what had happened inside the tunnel was “egregious.”
“It’s sickening to watch the videos,” he said, adding that there needed to be accountability.
The University of Michigan did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Thursday night.
Mr. Crump was suspended from the team by his head coach, Mel Tucker. He will also miss the first eight games of next season, according to Mr. Nichols, who said his client was remorseful about what he did.
“It was really, really hard, and I’m just super proud of him for struggling through,” Mr. Nichols said.
In December, Mr. Crump wrote a letter to Mr. McBurrows to apologize for his actions, Mr. Nichols said.
He added that in the aftermath of what happened inside the tunnel that night, Mr. Crump had continued to work on his class work and his conditioning.
“He’s still enrolled, still got a scholarship, and he’s still technically on the team, even though he’s suspended,” Mr. Nichols said. He added that “when the suspension is finally over, he can do what he loves to do.”