Jameis Winston sexual assualt charge decision to be handed down Thursday

We'll know at 2 p.m. Thursday whether Jameis Winston is getting charged with sexual battery

12/4/13 in NCAAF   |   JoeKukura   |   491 respect

Blog Photo - Jameis Winston's Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was named ACC Player of the Year Wednesday morning. He'll have about 24 hours to enjoy it, because Florida State Attorney William Meggs will announce at 2 p.m. ET Thursday whether Winston will be charged with sexual battery in relation to a criminal assault case that is making the topsy-turvy National Championship and Heisman pictures even topsy-turvier.

If Winston is indeed indicted on sexual battery charges, he will not be able to play any more this season. He will miss the ACC Championship Game. He will miss the BCS National Championship Game, and it's a serious question whether the Seminoles would even be invited to play. Oh, and Heisman Trophy votes are due four days later. Think this will affect anyone's vote?

The State Attorney in Florida will announce whether to charge Jameis Winston with sexual battery at a 2 p.m. ET Thursday press conference. If Winston is indeed charged with a felony (and sexual battery is a felony), the Florida State code of conduct says he cannot play.

Blog Photo - Jameis Winston's Yes, this is an assault case and it is more important than college football. But this particular case is so strange, so murky, so full of bizarre questions that neither Gloria Steinem nor Rush Limbaugh could form an unqualified opinion on it.

The assault took place nearly a year ago -- December 7, 2012. The victim went to the police immediately, but did not name Winston as her attacker until a month later. A month after that, Tallahassee Police insist the accuser declined to press charges.

The victim's family disputes this. They say that when she reported the assault, police encouraged her to not report the crime. They allege the police told her, "Tallahassee was a big football town and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against [Winston] because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable."

Investigators did find Winston's DNA in the accuser's underwear. Winston acknowledges sexual contact with the victim, but claims the sex was consensual.

On sports blogs like this, we always have to avoid the temptation to make sports bigger and more important than criminal proceedings. But these criminal proceedings that take place (or don't take place) at 2 p.m. Thursday may have a bigger impact on this college football season than any individual game this season has.
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