Just In Time for March Madness, Women's College Basketball Players With Assault Charges
Next week is March which means March Madness and I wanted to do a basketball episode so bad. Like so bad!!! Like I started searching things like “Pat Summit Crimes”. While I did find some WNBA drama that might be worthy of a full episode on the podcast, I really wanted to share some stories from college basketball. It seems like we are always hearing stories of college athletes in men’s sports being accused of assault or sexual assault, and we can’t forget last year’s FBI probe into the sport resulting in scandal.
As we learn from Plead The Belly podcast episodes, women are not immune from violence. I want to share two stories of women who were arrested for or convicted of assault while playing for college basketball teams.
The first story is not from an NCAA team, but it is so extreme that I have to include it. In January of 2015 three women were expelled from Solano Community College in Solano County, California after being arrested for the assault of a fellow basketball team mate. Jai-Nice Robinson, her sister Justice Robinson, and Kiara Beacham, were arrested after assaulting their teammate DaLana Bluford. DaLana was friends with her attackers until they had a falling-out. This is what prompted the three to conspire to attack Bluford. The three women told Blueford to meet them at a park where they would settle their differences (which already sounds terrifying). According to the victim’s father she arrived at the park with two other women in her car. She was then met by two other vehicles. A group of people attacked her car with baseball bats and crowbars. Bluford sustained cuts and a fracture near her right eye from the group punching and kicking her.
Robinson, Robinson, and Beacham were booked on three felonies each including suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism causing $50,000 or more in damage and conspiracy. A spokesperson from Solano Community college also announced that the three women would be suspended.
Beacham had all charges dropped by prosecutors, but Justice Robinson was found guilty of misdemeanor assault. Her sister Jai-Nice Robinson was found guilty of felony vandalism and felony assault with intent to cause great bodily injury. She faced five years in prison. In addition, Latashia Reed, the Robinson sister’s mother faced misdemeanor assault charges in this case.
That case is extreme, but now let’s take a quick look at a case unfolding just in time to shake up the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament bracket.
In more recent news we sadly learn that the standout player from Rutgers University, Caitlin Jenkins, was arrested February 2nd, 2019 for assault charges. She was arrested and charged with simple assault and criminal mischief in connection with a domestic violence incident. She was suspended indefinitely, but it was later announced that she would be dismissed from the team. Since she was dismissed Rutgers has lost 4 out of 5 games played without her. They were set to enter the NCAA Championship tournament with a 4 seed but are now looking at going in 7 seed.
As I write out these details, I do find it interesting that as I researched NCAA athletes with criminal charges, both women and men, I found mostly articles that list the charges but delve into the details of their athletic careers and the impact their time out of play will have on their team. It’s clear that the value of the player to the sport outshines the seriousness of having a criminal charge. It’s also clear the Rutgers will be limping through the tournament without Jenkins.
Solano Community College Case