Buckeyes Holmes, Smith charged with misdemeanor counts

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2003

COLUMBUS - Two Ohio State football players have been charged with disorderly conduct in a fight outside a dorm near Ohio Stadium early Sunday.

The charges came two days after athletic director Andy Geiger said the investigation into the fight had ended and no charges would be filed.

Starting wide receiver Santonio Holmes and kick returner Troy Smith were each charged with the misdemeanor counts Thursday afternoon, according to court documents.

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A campus police report said four female students were assaulted about 4 a.m. Sunday, and a window of one woman's car was broken. The women had minor injuries, the report said.

Walter Madison, an Akron attorney who said he represents two of the third-year female students, said one sustained a broken wrist and another was choked until she lost consciousness.

''The athletic director has declared the investigation over and dubbed their (the players') behavior as if they were acting in some heroic capacity,'' Madison said. ''Well, the injuries don't suggest that.''

The university said five women were also charged with disorderly conduct but that no other members of the football team were charged.

No. 4 Ohio State plays No. 5 Michigan on Saturday in a game to determine the Big Ten champion. The defending national champion Buckeyes could also earn a spot in the BCS title game at the Sugar Bowl.

Ohio State sports information director Steve Snapp said Thursday night that he ''would not get into'' whether Holmes and Smith would make the trip with the Buckeyes.

''There will be some discipline by the coach, but we won't get into what it is,'' Snapp said.

Geiger said facts uncovered in the police investigation of the case changed its outcome.

''The facts changed and the outcome changed,'' Geiger said Thursday. ''They learned more about it and what they told me changed.''

Geiger said he wasn't aware of what the players did, and that Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel had not informed him what team penalties the players could face. Tressel could not be reached for comment.

''There will be some action taken, but I'm not sure what it is,'' Geiger said.

Tressel was asked Tuesday whether the fact that so much is riding on this weekend's Michigan game would influence his decision on possible sanctions.

''I would hope not,'' Tressel said.

Tressel said the players had tried to break up a fight.

''The part that I can address is that we had some guys out much later than they should be and that we'll need to take care of things in-house to handle that,'' Tressel said.

Madison said he didn't think Ohio State would be in a hurry to reach a decision on disciplining the players.

''I don't anticipate them to be in much of a hurry,'' he said. ''However their lack of forthrightness may be indicative or coincidental with the largest game of the year.''

Holmes became a starter midway through the season after senior Drew Carter sustained a knee injury.

The redshirt freshman from Belle Glade, Fla., has 22 catches for 391 yards and three touchdowns and has been one of the most productive Buckeyes on offense in the past few games.

Smith, a redshirt freshman from Cleveland, has returned five kickoffs for 83 yards and has carried three times for 14 yards. He is listed as a backup quarterback on the team roster.