SEC

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen distances himself from Jeffery Simmons decision, defends program

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Tuesday, July 12, 2016.
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Tuesday, July 12, 2016. AP Photo

HOOVER, Ala. Dan Mullen fielded a number of pointed questions about Mississippi State’s decision to admit defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, the program’s highest-rated recruit, following an assault charge.

Video of the incident surfaced showing Simmons hitting a women several times.

Simmons was allowed to enroll with his penalty limited to enrollment in an undisclosed counseling program and a one-game suspension.

The decision came at a time with SEC continuing to push the success of its year-old transfer policy banning student-athletes transferring into the conference who were previously disciplined for “serious misconduct” at their previous school.

Simmons avoided the policy as an incoming freshman, but at the SEC spring meetings in Destin the league’s commissioner said he wasn’t “comfortable” with the decision.

On Tuesday at SEC Media Days, Mullen distanced himself from the admissions process while defending the ultimate outcome.

“I wasn't involved as much,” Mullen said. “It was a university decision, but I was just thrilled that we're having Jeffery as part of our family coming in. As I said, I take a lot of pride as a coach on developing young men to be champions, not just on the field, off the field, and every part of their life to be successful in whatever it is they do, and that's not an easy process.”

Mullen is confident the school did its due diligence on the situation with a “very, very thorough” investigation into what happen.

The coach’s time at the podium ended following a direct exchange with a reporter on what Mullen’s level of responsibility would be if Simmons was involved in a violent incident on MSU’s campus.

“We’re all responsible,” Mullen said. “If that happens, all of us, to be honest with you, I'm responsible for all of the actions for every one of my players. I'm responsible as a head coach.”

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