An ugly offseason for Michigan State's football program got uglier Friday.
Defensive lineman Auston Robertson was first charged with sexual misconduct before a statement from head coach Mark Dantonio announcing that Robertson is no longer a member of the team.
Robertson, a potential starter on the defensive line who played in seven games as a freshman last season, was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct Friday after police said he raped a woman.
This is unrelated to an ongoing sexual-assault investigation involving three other Michigan State football players and a staff member, all four of which were suspended earlier this year.
Robertson came to Michigan State with some controversy. He was involved in another serious situation before even signing with the Spartans, accused of improperly touching a female classmate during his senior year of high school and receiving a misdemeanor battery charge. That charge was later removed from his record after completing a diversionary program earlier this year.
Dantonio had this to say in a statement Friday:
"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 singing. 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 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. 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."
Robertson was a candidate to start along the defensive line after recording three tackles and forcing a fumble as a reserve last season.