A Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball player who started 11 games last season will have his initial appearance in court later this month for charges of domestic abuse and intentional damage to property.
Tyson Smiley, 21, was arrested on Sept. 13 for pushing his ex-girlfriend to the ground and then "taking out his rage" on the hood of a car that belongs to her father, according to a police affidavit. Smiley, of Mitchell, has his initial appearance for the two Class 1 misdemeanors on Oct. 18. If convicted, Smiley could face up to two years in prison and up to a $4,000 fine.
DWU Athletic Director Jon Hart on Tuesday said the school is aware of the allegations. He said Smiley is still a member of the men's basketball program and is practicing with the team.
"We're waiting for the legal and internal processes to reach a conclusion," Hart said. "From there, we'll be able to make a determination on his status with the team.
"We don't make light of these situations at all," Hart later went on to say. "We just want to be thorough and fair with the processes."
Court documents say Mitchell police were dispatched to a report of a car hood being jumped on by a male on Sept. 9. When officers arrived, there was no one around. On Sept. 12, Mitchell police received information that the male who was damaging the hood was possibly Smiley, and the car belonged to his girlfriend's father.
During police interviews, an officer was told that "Smiley had possibly assaulted a victim that he was involved in a significant romantic relationship with," the affidavit says. After that, Smiley allegedly went and jumped on the hood of the car.
When police spoke to Smiley, he allegedly admitted to taking the victim's phone but denied pushing her to the floor. Court documents say he admitted to damaging the vehicle.
Smiley, whose hometown is Omaha, Neb., is listed on DWU's roster as a junior guard. He started 11 of 32 games last year and averaged 23.4 minutes per game. He also averaged 8.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Court records say Smiley has retained Doug Dailey, of Mitchell, as his attorney.
According to the Dakota Wesleyan student conduct manual, Smiley could be suspended or dismissed from the university if convicted.
"Physical assault by any member of the DWU community against another person, on or off campus will NOT be tolerated," the handbook says. "Persons initiating such violence may be subject to suspension, dismissal, other disciplinary action and/or criminal charges."
The DWU men's basketball team is scheduled to play its first game of the season on Oct. 29 in Bellevue, Neb.