Men’s Basketball: Sledge reinstated by Donlon
After serving 19 days in jail, Raiders forward Tavares Sledge has rejoined the squad as he practiced with teammates Thursday for the first time in nearly three months.
Sledge was suspended indefinitely on Sept. 30, two days after being arrested by Fairborn Police for a domestic incident involving his girlfriend- former WSU volleyball player Alaina McAuley- and their infant son.
Wright State head coach Billy Donlon said he picked up Sledge at 5:30 a.m. on Christmas morning from Greene County lockup. He thought Sledge was in good spirits after serving his sentence.
“I think he is happy to have this part of his punishment behind him,” Donlon said. “There are other things he needs to do and he will do. I think he understands that there is a spotlight on him that he needs to very considerate of when he makes daily decisions.”
Donlon said that Sledge could play in his first game of the season this Sunday versus Bowling Green State. After three months away from the team, Sledge might need more time to shake off the rust and could return at some point later in the season.
Donlon also said that Sledge could opt to redshirt this season and retain a full year of eligibility.
“Every option is open,” Donlon said. “We’ll see how he is. In terms of him playing or not, a lot of it will be up to him. It is a hard choice, it is not an easy choice for a 21-year-old. I am older than he is, I have a lot more life experience, I am not sure what I would do.”
The 14 regular season games he missed leading up to his jail sentence will serve as his official punishment according to Donlon.
“He has taken ownership, at least with me,” Donlon said. “I think the guys were really excited just to have him back because they love Tavares.”
Guardian obtains more information on Sledge’s arrest
Following criticism for reporting information from the police report WSU took on Sept. 28 involving Sledge, The Guardian obtained further public records from the Fairborn Police Department on Thursday.
Sledge was originally arrested for domestic violence, child endangerment, obstructing official business, and resisting arrest. The domestic violence and child endangerment charges were changed to disorderly conduct charges that Sledge pled guilty to.
The records showed a few inconsistencies between the report WSU Police took and Fairborn Police’s report.
While WSU Police’s report was correct that police had to break a car window in order to get Sledge and his infant son out of a locked vehicle, according to the report taken by Fairborn Police, the passenger window was shattered in order to get Sledge out of the vehicle. Photos released by Fairborn Police confirmed this. WSU Police had stated that the back windows were busted. Photos following the incident showed the back windows on Sledge’s car were still in tact.
There were questions to whether police knew Sledge’s son was also in the car when police broke the windows and attempted to put Sledge into custody. According to the report, Sledge yelled “my baby” which not all of the officers on the scene heard.
“I observed (the infant) unrestrained in the front passenger seat,” said Fairborn Police’s Douglas Collie in a report. “Officer Fredrick approached from the rear passenger side and struck the passenger side window causing it to break before I could notify the other officers of the presence of the child.”
WSU Police took the report involving a domestic dispute between Sledge and McAuley because the incident took place on campus. A 911 call from a neighbor in Fairborn said the two were still fighting at their apartment off campus. Just before police arrived, McAuley went into her car and Sledge along with their son went into his car.
Photos showed a scratch near McAuley’s eye and blood on her white t-shirt.
The report added that Sledge was in the driver seat with the car on and had the vehicle in the reverse gear. As police shattered the windows, they had their guns drawn on Sledge and the vehicle. After police attempted to place Sledge under arrest, the car began to roll before Sledge put the car in park.
Collie added in his report that after Sledge had been arrested, he had a polite and respectful demeanor.
“During the conversation, I noted his overall demeanor was very polite and respectful,” Collie said in the report. “I pointed out my observation and asked why he was acting so aggressive and non-compliant on scene. He stated, ‘I thought you were going to take my child away from me.’”
It appears all sides are moving forward after Sledge’s sentence. Donlon said that after Sledge got out of jail, he went to Marietta to visit McAuley and their son.
“I think clearly, both Thanksgiving and Christmas, her family wanted him there,” Donlon said. “That is immediately where he went after I picked him up (Christmas) morning.”