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EMU issues statement about James Still

November 16, 2012

Late this morning, EMU issued a statement about James Still. Here it is, in its entirety.

Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball player James Still (Detroit, Mich.-Detroit Community-Providence-Henry Ford C.C.) will be withheld from competition pending the resolution of an ongoing legal matter involving an incident that occurred 2 1/2 years ago while he was a student at Providence College.

In April 2010, while a freshman at Providence, Still and a fellow teammate were both arrested and charged with felonious assault. After numerous trial delays, Still appeared in court in Providence, R.I., on Nov. 13, 2012, and pleaded guilty. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2013.

The Eastern Michigan University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics was aware of the matter when Still was admitted to the University in the fall of 2012 based upon numerous positive recommendations and after he had earned an associate degree from Henry Ford Community College.

EMU continues to monitor the situation, but following University policy no further comment will be made on the ongoing legal process.

There’s not really a lot there, but with a pending legal case, I wouldn’t expect much. When you strip away the fluff, the only new information here is confirmation that the athletic department knew about this when he enrolled.

I’m fairly surprised that he’s only “withheld from competition pending the resolution” and not off the team, but on the other hand, if the athletic department knew about it when he enrolled, kicking him off the team immediately would just emphasize the questionable decision to let him on the team to begin with. My expectation now is that he’ll be “withheld from competition” until the “resolution” comes when he’s sentenced on January 8, and at that point he’ll be off to jail, and by default gone from the team (and the school). I understand what they’re trying to do here — by spreading it out and gradually shifting him off the team, EMU can try to spread some of the outrage — and if asked, I’m sure they’ll say “innocent until proven guilty”, etc., but the fact is, he did plead guilty.

EMU has a felon on the men’s basketball team, and they’ve just told us that he’s staying on the team for probably another month-and-a-half.

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