December 20, 2014

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VIDEO: Former OSU football player Tracy Sprinkle pleads no contest in Lorain bar brawl

Elyria High School intervention specialist Stacie Starr hugs Tracy Sprinkle as he leaves court after taking a plea agreement. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Elyria High School intervention specialist Stacie Starr hugs Tracy Sprinkle as he leaves court after taking a plea agreement. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — Former Ohio State University football defensive lineman Tracy Sprinkle pleaded no contest Thursday to an amended misdemeanor charge of attempted failure to comply with a police order that stemmed from a July 5 brawl outside a Lorain bar.

Additional charges of possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and riot were dismissed as part of the plea deal in Lorain Municipal Court.

Judge Mark Mihok sentenced Sprinkle to a 30-day suspended jail term and two years of probation. He also ordered the former Elyria High School standout to pay a $500 fine and court costs.

Sprinkle also must work with Lorain police on their annual Shop with a Cop Christmas program, assist with a police athletic league and have 20 speaking engagements at various middle schools in Lorain County.

Mihok also told Sprinkle to stay out of bars while he’s on probation.

Sprinkle was kicked off the Ohio State football team by head coach Urban Meyer after Sprinkle’s arrest outside the Grown and Sexy Lounge on East 28th Street. The university said at the time that Sprinkle’s status with the team would be re-examined once his legal issues were resolved.

Tracy Sprinkle stands in court with his attorney, Mike Duff, at Lorain Municipal Court.

Tracy Sprinkle stands in court with his attorney, Mike Duff, at Lorain Municipal Court.

Gerald Emig, an Ohio State spokesman, wrote in an email to The Chronicle-Telegram on Thursday that there was no news from the university regarding Sprinkle.

Mike Duff, Sprinkle’s defense attorney, said his client is going to focus on putting the incident behind him.

“He’s very happy this matter is resolved and wants to get on with his education and football career at Ohio State and move on with his life,” Duff said after the hearing.

Sprinkle declined to comment as he left the courtroom Thursday but did speak during the hearing.

“I learned a lot of lessons from being in this situation,” he told Mihok. “I’m a good person. I just feel I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Lorain police were called to the bar about 2 a.m. July 5 because of a large fight and when officers arrived there were more than 50 in the parking lot and other people running out of the bar. Police reported people were fighting in the parking lot and inside the bar.

When police first encountered Sprinkle, according to a report on the incident, he was being restrained by several people while Wayne Blue, who was bleeding from his face, was screaming at him.

The report said that Blue, 23, told officers later that Sprinkle had hit him in the face with a bottle when the fighting broke out in the bar.

But Blue, who pleaded no contest to the same charge as Sprinkle on Thursday, said after his hearing that he didn’t know who had hit him with the bottle and that he wasn’t trying to fight or argue with Sprinkle.

“Nobody was holding us back,” he said.

Blue, who received a $500 fine, said he wasn’t involved in the fighting in the bar or parking lot and didn’t know who Sprinkle was.

“I’m just trying to get out of there,” he said.

The report said that both Sprinkle and Blue were told to leave and Blue was arrested when he tried to continue the confrontation. According to the report, Sprinkle’s friends told police “We got him,” and pushed the football player toward a car.

But, according to the report, Sprinkle didn’t leave and was later seen arguing with someone else. The report said that when an officer tried to handcuff Sprinkle, he tensed up and tried to spin around, which led the officer to shove Sprinkle into an SUV to finish handcuffing him.

During the hearing, Lorain City Prosecutor Barry Motsch said that further conversations with police led to a better understanding of what happened.

“The defendant in this case was not causing a problem to officers, but he had been told numerous times to leave,” Motsch said. “When he did not leave, the officer charged him with the failing to disperse.”

Motsch also said that it appeared to officers that other people wanted to fight Sprinkle as he moved through the chaotic scene.

After Sprinkle was taken to Lorain City Jail, the officer who drove him there found two small bags of cocaine, each weighing about 0.2 grams, stuffed under the back seat in the police cruiser. Sprinkle was charged with possession of the cocaine because the officer reported that he had checked the seat after transporting the only other person to be in the cruiser that night — a juvenile — and didn’t find any contraband.

But Duff said that when Sprinkle was released from jail July 7, he had Sprinkle’s blood, urine and hair tested and the results were negative for drugs. Motsch said the tests results led to the felony drug charge being dropped.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.