NCAA Football: Michigan State at Illinois
Nov 5, 2016; Champaign, IL, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive end Auston Robertson (94) pressures Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Jeff George Jr. (3) during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

According to the Ingham County Prosecutors’ Office on Friday, Michigan State defensive end Auston Robertson has been charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The charges against Robertson stem from an incident that happened back on April 9 in Meridian Township, a neighboring community of East Lansing. This is separate and unrelated from the still ongoing sexual assault investigation surrounding three unnamed players with the football program, something that Spartans head football coach Mark Dantonio addressed roughly a month ago prior to the team’s spring game.

Robertson, 19, played in seven games up front on defense in 2016, recording three tackles (two solo) and forcing one fumble.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Michigan State
Nov 12, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio stands on the sidelines during the second half of a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Robertson has a bit of a murky and checkered past. The former 4-star prospect out of Fort Wayne, Indiana was a member of the Class of 2016 for MSU, but did not sign on National Signing Day, due to battery charges when he reportedly touched a female classmate inappropriately during his senior year in high school. Robertson delayed his signing until the end of March after entering and completing a diversionary program.

Robertson also faced charges of criminal mischief, damaging property and resisting arrest in the fall of 2015, but those were reportedly dropped.

According to court records, the recent charges of criminal sexual conduct against Robertson involves the use of force or coercion, which is one of the many clauses defining what could be described as third-degree CSC. According to Michigan legislature, this particular charge is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison if the accused is found guilty.

ADDED RAMIFICATIONS TO MSU

Robertson was reportedly suspended immediately following the release of the report, per Dantonio, who had this to say regarding the incident:

“We are aware of a sexual assault investigation in Meridian Township involving one of our players. That player was immediately suspended on Sunday from all team activities as soon as we were notified of the situation,” Dantonio said. “We will continue to educate and enforce high standards for the program. I expect all of our players to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the values and principles of Michigan State University.

“This investigation is an ongoing process. It is not appropriate at this time for me to comment further on this matter.”

As stated before, this is another off-field incident surrounding the Michigan State football program and is separate from the incident that took place back in January earlier this year and is still being reviewed and investigated thoroughly by Michigan State police and the Ingham County Prosecutors’ Office.

Robertson is heralded as a top-tier talent with a high ceiling and is one of a few Spartans on defense to take that next step and lead the way in 2017. These charges certainly change things quite a bit moving forward.