James Still dismissed from EMU basketball team
After EMU issued their statement earlier today announcing that James Still was suspended from the men’s basketball team following his guilty plea, the Detroit Free Press ran an online article questioning whether EMU was following their Student-Athlete Discipline Policy. Relevant parts of the policy follow, with emphasis added:
Any student-athlete charged with a felony, or with a crime involving gambling or game fixing under Michigan law or any other jurisdictional equivalent, shall be suspended automatically from practice and playing privileges until the charges are dropped, dismissed or otherwise resolved. The student-athlete may appeal this decision pursuant to the Appeals Procedure outlined in this policy.
Any student-athlete convicted of or pleading no contest to a felony charge or a gambling or game fixing charge under Michigan law or any other jurisdictional equivalent shall be permanently dismissed from the team. The student-athlete’s right to retain his/her grant-in-aid for the remainder of the academic year will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The Department of Athletics shall recommend nonrenewal of the scholarship to the Office of Financial Aid for any succeeding academic years. The student-athlete may appeal this decision pursuant to the Appeals Procedure outlined in this policy.
Four hours later, EMU released an update, citing this policy, indicating that Still has now been dismissed from the team. That update follows in full.
The Eastern Michigan University Department of Athletics policy on student-athlete discipline states the following: “Any student-athlete convicted of or pleading no contest to a felony charge or a gambling or game fixing charge under Michigan law or any other jurisdictional equivalent shall be permanently dismissed from the team.”
Accordingly, James Still is dismissed from team activities. The student-athlete discipline policy allows for an appeal process should the student athlete so choose.
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.
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.
All I can think is that whoever was handling this at EMU forgot their own policy until the Freep was so kind as to remind them. As to the comments about admission standards and privacy regulations, I don’t know that anyone has questioned Still’s admission to EMU. What is being questioned is why, having an open felony charge against him, Still was recruited by Murphy, offered an athletic scholarship, and allowed to join the men’s basketball team, in spite of a clear policy to the contrary.