EAST LANSING — Auston Robertson has been dismissed from the Michigan State football team as he faces a charge of third degree criminal sexual assault.
Spartans coach Mark Dantonio made the announcement on Friday afternoon, the same day the criminal charge was authorized against Robertson, who just completed his freshman season with the program.
“The criminal sexual conduct charges announced today against Auston Robertson are of the most serious nature,” Dantonio said. “Sexual assault has no place in our community. While there is an ongoing criminal process, we’re extremely disappointed that Auston put himself in this position.”
Robertson was previously suspended from the program when Dantonio learned that he was the subject of a sexual assault investigation stemming from an alleged April 9 incident in Meridian Township.
According to police, Robertson followed a woman into her apartment while dropping her off after a party and sexually assaulted her. He has not yet been arraigned on the charge.
Prior to enrolling at Michigan State, Robertson faced a misdemeanor battery charge in his native Fort Wayne, Indiana, stemming from an incident in which he allegedly inappropriately touched a classmate at school. That charge was dismissed last month after Robertson went through a diversionary program.
In the statement, Dantonio said Robertson went through a “thorough vetting process” that continued until his admission to the school last summer before he was allowed to join the program.
After joining the program, Dantonio said Robertson went through “an extensive educational process with specific prerequisites put in place” to be a member of the program. The process included daily supervised sessions “addressing appropriate behavior and developmental growth.”
“Despite these measures, Auston broke our trust and expectations by putting himself in a compromising situation,” Dantonio said.
Robertson was one of four Michigan State football players being investigated for sexual assault. Three other players remain under investigation following a January criminal complaint. That investigation remains in the hands of the Ingham County Prosecutor. A Michigan State football staffer has also been suspended while the investigation is ongoing.
Here is Dantonio’s statement in its entirety:
“The criminal sexual conduct charges announced today against Auston Robertson are of the most serious nature. Sexual assault has no place in our community. While there is an ongoing criminal process, we’re extremely disappointed that Auston put himself in this position. He is no longer a member of our football program.
“Due to the charges he was facing during his recruitment, we took precaution in allowing Auston to be a part of our football program, including a thorough vetting, which we acknowledged publicly at his signing. This was a multiple-step process that continued through his final admission in the summer.
“Following his arrival on campus, he underwent an extensive educational process with specific prerequisites put in place for his participation as a student-athlete. This included daily supervised sessions within the football program and regular meetings with university staff addressing appropriate behavior and developmental growth. He also successfully completed his one-year diversionary program as directed by the court, which included a 22-week course focused on behavior changes that began in Indiana and was transferred to the state of Michigan (Prevention and Training Services). Despite these measures, Auston broke our trust and expectations by putting himself in a compromising situation.
“Our players are representatives not only of themselves and their families, but also Michigan State University, this football program and all of those who support us. We will continue to emphasize and enforce the high standards of integrity, respect and accountability that I have for everyone in this program. We expect all of our players to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the values and principles of this university.”