An offseason of turmoil for Michigan State hit its boiling point Tuesday morning.
Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio released three players charged with sexual assault from the program. The previously unnamed players have now been identified after warrants for third-degree criminal sexual misconduct were issued by the Ingham County Prosecutors Office.
Wide receiver Donnie Corley, defensive end Josh King and defensive back Demetric Vance were identified by authorities and charged in connection to an alleged sexual abuse that has been under investigation since February. On top of the felony charge of criminal sexual misconduct, King was charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and capturing/distributing an image of an unclothed person.
Dantonio has stressed the seriousness of the ongoing legal issue involving players from his football program and wasted little time in dismissing the players after the warrants were issued. Whether he should have waited this long may be a fair question, but it is also not uncommon for schools and sports programs to allow the legal process to run its course before making such decisions, unless there is more information available from within to make such a strong decision.
Corley was Michigan State’s second-leading receiver in 2016, with 453 receiving yards as a freshman. He would have been one of the top targets in Michigan State’s passing game in 2017, which now becomes an even more important question mark for the Spartans on the field.
After a run of successful seasons on the field, Michigan State was seeing improved recruiting come together at a time when Michigan and Penn State were still “down” by comparison. Now, some of the top players brought into the program are already gone.
Michigan State signed 11 four-star players in 2016, per @Rivals. Five of the 11 no longer with the team, including their top 3 prospects.
— Sean Merriman (@MerrimanTweets) June 6, 2017
It may be too small of a sample size to suggest Michigan State has a widespread culture problem, but after a dismal season in East Lansing in 2016, Dantonio is faced with addressing some serious concerns about the program moving forward both on and off the field.