Five Minot State University football players were charged with crimes this week, four of them with misdemeanor crimes of possession of marijuana and ingestion of a controlled substance. They have been suspended from the team indefinitely.
But the circumstances surrounding the fifth player, Jesse Devon Ili, are most disturbing, to say the least. Ili was charged with a number of crimes, including attempted murder, preventing arrest, assault on a police officer, refusal to halt, possession of marijuana and ingestion of a controlled substance. The charges stem from a violent attack by Ili on two Minot police officers. Ili is accused of assaulting officer Brandon Schmidt, including repeatedly slamming the officer's head into a retaining wall post. We're hopeful that the officers attacked suffered no serious injuries.
All five players came to MSU from other states, but we don't want to hear the age-old sentiment that the university shouldn't recruit athletes from anywhere other than good old North Dakota. It's a tired argument, and unrealistic in today's college sports world. Minot State and other universities have always had home-grown lawbreakers, too. By far, the vast majority of out-of-state athletes are solid citizens who are here to earn a college degree while competing in their chosen sport. It would be unfair to paint them with a broad brush.
We certainly don't condone the behavior of those charged with drug possession, but those four students arrested on marijuana charges aren't the first college students, from Minot or elsewhere, to be charged with such crimes, nor will they be the last. But Ili's charges are different. He has been kicked off the MSU team, and for good reason. Such violence simply cannot be tolerated and has no place at Minot State University or anywhere else in society. Now it's time to let the legal process unfold.