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No-contest plea for Michigan State D-lineman accused of spitting at officer

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While it’s not completely over, Demetrius Cooper is close to putting his legal troubles behind him.

Citing court records, mlive.com is reporting that Cooper has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery.  The charge stems from a late-October incident in which it’s alleged that the Michigan State defensive lineman spit at a parking officer after Cooper was cited for impeding traffic.

Cooper returned to the restaurant from which he came without moving his vehicle, which led to the parking officer to warn the player that he would be cited again if it remained parked illegally. It was at that point that Cooper allegedly spat in the officer’s general direction.

With the no-contest plea, Cooper could see the charge reduced if he behaves between now and mid-November.

According to records, Cooper’s sentencing is not scheduled until November 16. If he complies with the conditions of his bond between now and then, which include not being charged with any crimes, not using alcohol and submitting to random, biweekly breath tests, his charge will be reduced to littering, which carries a $500 fine.

It’s unclear what if any punitive measures Cooper may face from the football program.

Last season, Cooper started 11 games.  He’s played in 38 games total heading into his fifth-year senior season.

Wisconsin extends NCAA streak for postseason success thanks to football assist

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The calendar says it’s March and that can only mean one thing for most sports fans: NCAA Tournament time and the inevitable madness that ensues.

While you’re busy filling out your brackets (here’s a printable one in case you haven’t yet), you may have noticed that Wisconsin is the No. 8 seed in the East Regional and set to play No. 9 Virginia Tech.

Why is that notable for CollegeFootballTalk? Well, thanks in part to an assist from the Badgers on the gridiron, the school can extend an NCAA record streak one more season.

Per a university release:

UW’s football team has qualified for a bowl game and its men’s basketball team has earned an invitation to the NCAA tournament for 15 straight years (every year since the start of the 2002 season). That is the longest streak in NCAA history. The next longest belongs to Texas, which qualified for a bowl and the NCAA tournament 12 straight seasons from 1998-99 to 2009-10.

In case you’re wondering, the next two schools with active streaks are Baylor and North Carolina at a paltry (by comparison) four such seasons with both a bowl and tournament appearance.

While the Longhorns’ streak ended a few years ago, Wisconsin did appear to have some competition from a Big Ten rival in Michigan State. The Spartans did have a run of nine straight years where they made the postseason in both sports but the football team’s shocking 3-9 record in 2016 put an end to that.

Maybe even more impressive for the Badgers is how they’ve been able to keep things going on the football side despite having four different head coaches in the same time frame. One name from that very same quartet of coaches should see some face time in Wisconsin’s opening round game as Barry Alvarez  is now the athletic director at the school and overseen the streak from the very beginning.

‘On Wisconsin’ indeed it seems, especially when it comes to the postseason of the two biggest college sports.

Michigan State RB L.J. Scott hints on Twitter he may turn pro after 2017

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It would be unwise to guess what a college football player plans to do nine to 10 months from now, so overreacting to a single tweet dropped online over the weekend while watching the NFL Combine in Indianapolis may just be catching a player caught up in the fun. Michigan State running back L.J. Scott seemed to leave a hint online to his Twitter followers that he could already be looking forward to his go at the combine “a year from now.”

As a sophomore in 2016, Scott rushed for 994 yards and six touchdowns in a woeful season for the Spartans. Scott is considered one of the top running backs in the Big Ten heading into 2017, along with Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, Minnesota’s Rodney Smith, and Ohio State’s Mike Weber. Like Scott, Barkley and Smith will be juniors this fall and could also be in a position to consider making the leap to the NFL in 2018.

A total of 19 running backs declared early for the 2017 NFL Draft. The only position with more players declaring early for the draft was at wide receiver, with 27.

Cassius Peat says he’s returning to Michigan State

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In early August, Mark Dantonio stated that Michigan State was giving Cassius Peat “an opportunity to work on his academics and get himself in order” as his status with the program was “in flux.” Not long after, MSU confirmed that the defensive lineman had been granted a release from his scholarship and would transfer.

Just a little over six months later?  He’s back, at least according to his Instagram account.

Isaiah 41:30😛

A post shared by Cassius Peat (@cassiuspeat) on Mar 2, 2017 at 7:16am PST

In that interview with 247Sports.com, Peat expounded on his situation.

“Yup, I’m enrolling at Michigan State this summer,” Peat said. “I’m planning to enroll there for summer session one.”

Peat had spent the 2016 season at an Arizona junior college. It had originally been thought that Peat would be transferring from the JUCO to UCLA, but the former MSU Spartan decided he wanted to, once again, become a current MSU Spartan.

As of yet, the football program has not addressed his potential return to the team.

Peat, initially a UCLA commit during his first recruitment, was a three-star 2015 signee who was rated as the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Arizona. He took a redshirt as a true freshman, and had been listed as the No. 2 tackle heading into summer camp last year.

Amidst turbulent offseason, Mark Dantonio releases statement

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To say that the Michigan State football program, coming off a three-win season on the field that was its worst in more than 20 years, is having a rough offseason off of it wouldn’t do it justice.

Earlier this monthThiyo Lukusa, the projected starter at right tackle, announced that he was leaving not only the football team but the sport, citing a loss of love and passion for the game.  Not long after, Jon Reschke, a likely starter at linebacker, announced his decision to transfer from the Spartans after making “an insensitive and totally regrettable comment involving a former teammate.”

Most notably — and disturbingly — three unidentified football players as well as a football staffer were suspended amidst sexual assault allegations, with tandem police and Title IX investigations casting a cloud over the program.

Noticeably absent amidst that maelstrom? Head coach Mark Dantonio, who has not permitted reporters to cover spring practice sessions that kicked off this past weekend and didn’t conduct a press conference previewing the spring agenda as had been the case every other year he’d been on the job since taking control in late November of 2006.  In fact, the coach hadn’t spoken publicly since National Signing Day the first part of the month.

Tuesday, that changed somewhat as Dantonio released a statement through the university which, in part, states that his program  is “extremely concerned about” the allegations and they are “taking [them] very seriously.” “When the time is appropriate, I will be able to answer questions regarding our program and discuss our team,” the coach said, adding, “At this point in time, we have to respect the process of the investigations for everyone involved.”

Below is the text of Dantonio’s statement, in its entirety.

With spring practice beginning last weekend and preparation for a new season underway, I feel it’s important to reinforce the core values and beliefs that have built and defined this program during my time at MSU.

“Since arriving here 11 years ago, my passion has been to lead a program that fosters a culture of integrity, respect and accountability, both on and off the field. That will never change. I have high standards for the program and expect all of our players and staff to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the values and principles of Michigan State University. Our goal is to develop young men of character who graduate and make a positive impact on society.

“Regarding the ongoing investigations taking place within our program, the allegations are something we’re extremely concerned about and taking very seriously. We took immediate action by suspending those involved as soon as we were notified of the situation. Our action is separate from the ongoing criminal and administrative investigations. Those processes will determine if a crime has been committed and also if any university policy has been violated.

“(Athletic director) Mark Hollis and the university administration have set forth expectations for this program that I fully support, and we have gone to great lengths to consistently educate all members of the football program on our standards of conduct. I expect all members of the football program to live up to those standards, and I’m doing everything necessary to help throughout this difficult process.

“When the time is appropriate, I will be able to answer questions regarding our program and discuss our team. At this point in time, we have to respect the process of the investigations for everyone involved.