Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball player James Still, a junior, was dismissed from the team Nov. 16. Still and a fellow Providence College teammate were arrested in April 2010 for a felony count of assault while attending the Rhode Island Catholic and Dominican College.
Still and Johnnie Lacy were arrested and charged with felony assault following the beating of Yerkin Abdrakhmanovon in Providence back in 2010. Both players were suspended pending the outcome of the investigation two years ago, but Still was given a second chance at EMU.
Still appeared in court Nov. 13 and pleaded guilty. In a Nov. 16 EMU press release sent around 12 p.m., it was originally announced that Still would be withheld from competition pending the resolution of the felony case against him.
In the release, the university acknowledged they were aware of Still’s legal trouble when they admitted him this fall based on “positive recommendations” and Still’s degree from Henry Ford Community College.
However, by the end of the day the university reversed its position. A little over six hours after the initial release was sent, the EMU Athletic Department sent out another press release announcing, per policy, Still’s immediate dismissal from the team.
The policy states Still can appeal the decision, but as of press date there was no indication from anyone involved as to whether or not the process had been initiated.
In the second press release, the university issued the following statement: “Federal privacy regulations prevent the university from speaking specifically to the situation involving Mr. Still’s admission to the university. However, EMU takes the safety of its campus seriously and has an admissions process that balances the safety and security of campus, with the goal of providing an opportunity to individuals who have made mistakes in the past.”
It said the charges had no initial factor in Still’s admission to the university, and according to the release, “A student who indicates that they have criminal charges pending against him or her is not automatically precluded from admission to the university. An Admissions Review Board reviews their application and makes a determination regarding admission.”
The athletic deparment would not comment, but did refer to the university’s student-athlete discipline policy. According to the policy, the decision of the Appeal Committee (should one be convened), would be made aware within five business days of the appeal being filed. Still has five days from the time of the decision to file this appeal.
Both statements can be found in their entirety at www.emueagles.com.