We’ve blathered on and on about this before, but year after year it never fails to amaze. Anecdotally at least, it seems that the months of August and September every single year are marked with college basketball players filling up the police blotters. Why can’t guys stick to getting ready for the upcoming hoops season rather than involving themselves in all sorts of other nonsense? Our theory is that players get back to school and have nothing going on for the first time in quite a while. Summer camp and international team obligations are over. Individual workouts won’t start for another month, and the formal start of practice a month after that. The demands of classwork haven’t really kicked in yet. The weather is still hot, and guys are looking to cut loose.
In other words, all of the pieces of the common aphorism that “idle hands are the devil’s playthings” are in place, and just as consistently as sundresses on the quad in August, players around the nation cannot seem to avoid the early fall tendency to put themselves in situations where trouble finds them. We’re not being accusatory here — we fully allow and understand that players are often victims of false accusations and overzealous police and prosecutors as a result of their local celebrity — but that’s why they need to be careful to stay out of risky situations. And yet, year after year, they don’t.
The latest and greatest case comes from Michigan State. You know, Tom Izzo’s superb program that has been to the last two Final Fours and is an odds-on favorite to reach a third next April. According to a report released today by the Michigan Messenger, two high-profile (unnamed) MSU players were accused of a serious sexual assault in a dorm on the night of August 29-30. The details of both the police report, much of which was corroborated by the alleged victim and one of the two players, paint a horrific picture.
Once in the room, the three started playing basketball using a mini-hoop. When the victim missed a basket, one of the men told her she had to remove an article of clothing. The victim agreed and removed her t-shirt because she had a tank top on underneath. At this point, the victim says, the players began to deliberately miss baskets until they were stripped “completely naked.” One of the men allegedly blocked the doorway to the room, while the other “cornered” the victim in the room. “[The victim] explained to [detectives] that the body language of [the players] suggested she was not free to leave,” the report says. “[Redacted] was blocking any escape path to the exit of the dorm room. [The victim] stated that after [redacted] approached the door he turned the lights in the room off and the room went completely dark. At this point, the sexual assault began. The victim told police the players penetrated her in various positions. The victim told detectives the players allegedly asked her “how does that feel?” and “how do you want it?” The victim says she told the players she didn’t want it and gave “other indicators she was not a willing participant.” The victim told police that the players pinned her down, but at one point she freed her arms momentarily and struck one of the players in the face. The player was on top of her and in response to her hitting him, he allegedly said, “Don’t. Just relax. C’mon,” as he continued to assault her, the report says.