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Ohio State student tackled on field faces $100 fine, counseling

Ohio Stadium event staff escort away Anthony Wunder, a fourth-year in mechanical engineering, who attempted to rush onto the field during a game against Cincinnati on Sept. 27. OSU won, 50-28. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

Ohio Stadium event staff escort away Anthony Wunder, a fourth-year in mechanical engineering, who attempted to rush onto the field during a game against Cincinnati on Sept. 27. OSU won, 50-28. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

About 5 seconds.

That’s roughly the time Ohio State student Anthony Wunder spent sprinting down the Ohio Stadium field in the middle of an OSU football game, but that’s all the time it took to land him a court-ordered fine and months of required counseling.

Wunder, a fourth-year in mechanical engineering, appeared in Franklin County Municipal Court on Thursday morning on one count of criminal trespassing, a fourth-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

He pleaded guilty to the charge.

“He’s taken responsibility for his actions,” said Mark C. Collins, the attorney representing Wunder. “He made the poor choice to go out there … He put himself in that situation.”

Collins said the severity of the punishment is what he’d expect for a case like Wunder’s. Because of his age and lack of criminal history, 21-year-old Wunder did not receive the maximum sentence punishable by law. He won’t serve any time in jail, but he will be required to pay $100 and attend three to nine months of counseling.

Although Collins denied any leniency in Wunder’s punishment, some students expressed mixed feelings about whether the punishment was harsh enough.

Stephanie Keller, a third-year in industrial and systems engineering, said a lot of people were expecting Wunder to get a harsher punishment for his actions.

“I was surprised at how — not how easy he got off, but how small the punishment was because at the game, people were talking about how he might be expelled,” Keller said. “I also understand that we’re college kids, so we make stupid mistakes all the time.”

But it’s a mistake Ricky La Ve’, a fifth-year in psychology, said future offenders might intentionally make now because of what seems to be a lack of punishment for Wunder.

“I don’t think it’s going to set a precedent for people not to do it,” La Ve’ said. “I mean, $100 and counseling … I don’t think it’s a deterrent for people doing it again.”

The charge stems back to Sept. 27 when Wunder bolted onto the field during a second-quarter play against Cincinnati. Wunder made it to the 50-yard line before he was slammed to the ground by assistant strength and conditioning coach Anthony Schlegel — a former OSU linebacker.

Videos of Wunder’s stunt and the Schlegel tackle have since gone viral.

In the courtroom Thursday morning, Wunder apologized to his family, the Evans Scholars Program — of which he is a part — and his fellow scholars for his actions that night.

“I made a mistake, and it was very poor judgement,” Wunder said.

Collins said Wunder had been drinking the night of his stint on the field, but said he was not drunk.

In addition to consequences from the state, Wunder also faces punishment from the Evans Scholars Program. As long as he complies with all that the scholars group asks of him, Wunder will not lose his full-ride scholarship. However, he is no longer allowed to live in the scholars house, nor is he able to participate in Evans Scholars activities during the disciplinary process.

“That is a lot of punishment in and of itself,” Collins said. “It’s a close-knit group, and he’s very tied to that group.”

If Wunder complies with all that’s asked of him, Collins said he will eventually be eligible to try and expunge the criminal trespassing charge from his record “as though it never existed.”

Collins said Wunder was not seriously injured as a result of the on-field tackle and will not be pursuing legal action against Schlegel.

“He felt a little sore, but nothing that would amount to anything,” Collins said. “As far as we’re concerned, this case is over.”

11 comments

  1. Give the kid a break. Who doesn’t make at least one stupid mistake as a young adult?

  2. I think the idea is you want to prevent other kids from doing this if they see there is no consequence to doing it.

  3. After reading all the initial comments regarding his actions (local and national media), I’d a thought for sure he would have been convicted, sentenced and sitting on death row by now! ….Guys, I think he learned his lesson (as well as the other 50,000+ OSU students). Ditto, give the kid a break.

  4. When my family moved to Marysville years ago, I told (warned) my wife that, if an OSU football player so much as “breaks wind”, it’ll be on the news. This story is just another example of how anything related to football at OSU trumps EVERYTHING else in the entire Columbus area. I’m proud to be an alum, but I cannot stand hearing anything about the team.

  5. I really enjoyed all the people saying because the kid wasn’t thrown in prison for life now Ohio State is going to have an epidemic of people running onto the field. LOL. Kids of been doing this for years as well as drunk adults at all kinds of sporting events. I don’t think we’re going to see any more percentage of people going onto the field from this incident because he got $100 fine and some counseling. The judge got it right in this case.

  6. Sure, “give the kid a break”, it’s only a rule/law that he broke. Why should we obey any laws, or be held personally accountable for any of our actions for that matter? Rules and laws are just like speed limits; just a suggestion. I guess that’s why we have the ever increasing crime rates we have these days. This explains why there is little to no enforcement of existing laws, but when the police do catch law-breakers (a.k.a. criminals) the oh-so-lenient court system plea-bargains the police officers hard work down to a lesser offense; or there are riots by people who did not witness what happened, but “know” more of what happened than the police who “were” on the scene; or the criminal is allowed to serve less than half of the time for which they were sentenced; or people who complain that some people are being too strict with the enforcement of these rules/laws. This ill-logic is why much of the deterrent effect is gone from our laws these days. This is evident in the burgeoning rate of many crimes and the liberal attitudes that demand we “give the kid a break.” Give “me” a break!

  7. The student is receiving a sanction that is commensurate with the offense committed. He ran onto a field during a college football game. How much damage was done? Who was harmed? Yes, he broke a law, and he is receiving appropriate punishment. He has a clean record, and the offense would not be characterized as “criminal” by anyone with a reasonable understanding of the term.

  8. Dan, take a five minute break……and skip the caffeine.

  9. I seem to remember reading that the kid lost his Evans Scholarship. He made a bad choice. He went to court, was fined and will move on. I’m sure he and others have learned from this.

  10. Looks like the Evans folks reconsidered their over the top reaction. Thank goodness.

  11. I posted over on the Schlegel legal defense thread about this case in philosophy of culpability only. And got attacked for it. Now that the sentence is passed, Mr. Wunder can move on. The sentence was neither excessive nor lenient. Months of counseling for a 21 year old would eat valuable leisure time. I doubt he will do this again. And that is the point.

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