Former CMU RB Austin White enters plea agreement on drug charges from April arrest
Former Central Michigan running back Austin White has entered into a plea agreement for his involvement in an April drug bust on campus.
White, 20 of Livonia, pleaded guilty on Sept. 21 to charges of delivering and manufacturing narcotics, possession of narcotics and maintaining a drug house, according to Isabella County court records.
The plea, agreed upon between White, his attorney Mary Chartier and Judge Paul Chamberlain, included White being granted Holmes Youthful Trainee Act status. Under HYTA, a youth between the ages of 17 and 20 alleged to have committed a crime can serve prison time or probation without a conviction going on their permanent record.
Following months of claiming innocence, Chartier said White “weighed the consequences” and made the decision to enter a plea.
“(We did this) just because there’s going to be an unknown as to what a jury is going to do,” Chartier said Tuesday from her Lansing office. “Mr. White is looking to continue his education and move out of state. … It expedites this for him.”
Sentencing in Isabella County Trial Court is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Oct. 26.
White was one of four CMU football players arrested last April following an investigation by the CMU Police Department into a stolen phone. When officers tracked the phone to a terrace-level Celani residence hall room, they discovered hallucinogenic mushrooms being grown in a bathroom shared by Joe Sawicki, of Mokena, Ill., and White.
Sawicki was arrested April 17 and charged with delivering and manufacturing narcotics, possession of narcotics and maintaining a drug house. An arrest warrant was issued for White, who turned himself into campus police the following day.
White, Sawicki and former CMU receiver Danel Harris, who pleaded guilty to larceny from a vehicle, were immediately kicked off the CMU football team by head coach Dan Enos. Sawicki was sentenced in June to 12 months probation after entering into a plea agreement. He, too, was granted HYTA status.
White, through Chartier, originally entered a 'not guilty' plea and his attorney later criticized CMU police for its handling of the investigation, calling the charges “unfortunate” and “unfounded.”
“Ultimately, whether it’s dismissed or a ‘not guilty’ verdict by a jury, I think Austin will be vindicated of the charges,” Chartier told Central Michigan Life during a telephone interview in April.
Legal troubles continued for White over the summer, as he was charged in Wayne County Circuit Court with two separate home invasions in his native Livonia.
Chartier denied Tuesday that the pending charges in Wayne County played a factor in White’s decision to enter a plea in Isabella County.
“The charges in Wayne County have brought to the forefront of how he wants to plan his future,” Chartier said. “These charges are really holding him back, and his goal is to move on from them as quickly as possible and continue his education and move on with his career.”
Chartier said White wants to move to Illinois with his family – his father, Michael White, recently retired as principal of Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor and accepted a principal job at Bolingbrook High School – and continue playing football.
White transferred to CMU from the University of Michigan in January 2011. NCAA transfer rules required him to sit out the 2011 season, during which he was ‘indefinitely suspended’ from the program for undisclosed reasons.