Riley Stapleton’s Uncertain Future

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin (This content was originally published in our newsletter)

Stapleton pleads no contest to false imprisonment charge – Take a look at a detailed article on the legal situation from a newspaper in Stapleton’s hometown.

Here’s our quick summary: From what we’ve read on the case, investigators said Stapleton trapped an ex-girlfriend in a bathroom at a house party in his hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania, in 2017. He prevented her from leaving as he tried to make indecent contact with her and eventually pushed her into the shower and turned the water on. Stapleton told police he doesn’t remember the incident because he blacked out. 

JMU’s statement – Per Greg Madia’s report, JMU added this: “We are extremely disappointed in Riley’s actions and will issue punishment in line with the court’s findings. We will be meeting with the student athlete to communicate his punishment and then will release that accordingly.” 

For context, the court put Stapleton on probation for one year. He’s receiving an anger management evaluation as well as a drug-and-alcohol evaluation. He was issued fines worth a total of $903.75.

Cignetti’s statement: According to The Breeze, head coach Curt Cignetti added a quick comment on the situation: “Poor choices and decisions lead to poor consequences. That’s all I’ve got to say.” 

Good reporting – Kudos to The Breeze, who I believe was the first JMU-related media outlet to cover the story. Greg Madia’s detailed coverage has also been helpful in shedding light on the story.

First reaction – We feel terrible for the victim in this case. We expect the JMU community to be extremely disappointed in this news. It’s a bad look for everyone involved. 

Football reaction –  On the football side of things, there’s not a lot to discuss until Cignetti and the athletic department hand down a punishment. We’d be stunned if Stapleton suits up in the opener, and he’s likely due for at least a sizable suspension, but that’s purely speculation on our part. Given the rules most college football coaches have regarding violence against women, we think it’s a fair guess to expect a strict punishment.  

Spring game looms – This news overshadows the Dukes’ spring game on April 13, but we will get into that game early next week. 

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