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Miami football player arrested after assault

By Ben Blanchard, Jack Evans, Coburn Gillies and Emily Williams, The Miami Student

Miami University football player Zach Smierciak was arrested this weekend for felonious assault. The victim, Robert Null, sustained serious injuries and has been discharged from the University of Cincinnati hospital.

According to the incident report from the Oxford Police Department, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 6, the 6'2'' and 262 pound starting defensive end was being removed from Brick Street bar when he deliberately shoved a ladder, knocking off Null, a Brick Street employee, who fell headfirst onto the pavement.

Null had been standing on the top step of the 10-foot A-frame ladder, according to the report.

Null, who was unresponsive with a cracked skull, was taken to McCullough Hyde Hospital and flown to the UC hospital in the early hours of Sunday, Nov. 6 due to the severity of his injuries. Null is a senior at Miami University.

Smierciak, 22, ran from the scene and headed north down Poplar Street. According to the incident report, Brick Street employees chased Smierciak and were able to stop him in front of The Woods bar where OPD officer Mark Ledermeier detained him and took him to the Oxford Police Station for processing. Smierciak was then transported to the Butler County Jail.

According to a statement from Ledermeier included in the report, Smierciak smelled of alcohol, slurred his speech and had poor balance.

The events of the incident were confirmed by an interview, 10 written statements and a security video from the bar, according to Butler County Area Court records.

Felonious assault is a second degree felony under Ohio law and carries a penalty of two to eight years in prison, according to Ohio Revised Code sections 2903.11 and 2929.14.

Smierciak, a redshirt junior from Aurora, Ohio was recruited as a tight end/linebacker but moved to the defensive line for the RedHawks this season. In June 2014, he was charged for disorderly conduct in Oxford. He plead guilty to the charges and paid a $150 fine.

Miami's head football coach Chuck Martin did not mention Smierciak's arrest at his regular press conference on Monday. Smierciak's hearing will be held at 10 a.m. this Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Butler County Area courthouse in Oxford.

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