Sports

Cephus attorney says UW doesn't want football player back

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - University of Wisconsin-Madison officials are sending a "clear message" they don't want former Badgers wide receiver Quintez Cephus to return despite his acquittal in a sexual assault case, his attorney said Monday.

Cephus, 21, of Macon, Georgia, was suspended from the football team in August 2018 after being charged with second- and third-degree sexual assault. He was expelled from the university earlier this year for violating its non-academic misconduct code. Cephus applied for readmission on Aug. 6, four days after a jury found him not guilty.

Cephus' attorney Stephen Meyer said Monday that discussions with the university have collapsed. University spokeswoman Meredith McGlone said Monday she couldn't comment due to privacy rules.

"They sent us a clear message that they don't want Quintez as a student at the University of Wisconsin this semester," Meyer said. He wouldn't give details about what happened or why he thought the university would not look favorably on the readmission request.

The university says in a statement posted on its website that Meyer is false.

It says no decision has been made about whether to readmit Cephus. 

"UW-Madison is committed to performing a complete and thorough review of any petition for reinstatement that it receives. In most cases this involves a full review of all relevant court records, which in this case were not provided in the petition. We are working to gather this information currently and will complete our review of the petition as quickly as possible once we have it. No decision on this matter has been made at this time.

Generally speaking, it's important to note that the University of Wisconsin System's code of student conduct is separate from criminal law and that students may be held responsible for violations of the code regardless of whether those violations are also criminal. State and federal law require us to apply the code of conduct impartially and consistently regardless of the identities of the individuals involved."

A valuable wide receiver, the 6-foot-1 junior played a combined 23 games in 2016 and 2017. He amassed 501 yards receiving in the 2017 season and led the Badgers with six touchdown catches despite breaking his right leg in November of that year, missing the final five games of the season.

Badgers football head coach Paul Chryst said last week that he would love to have Cephus return to the team, if that's what's best for him. Cephus and current Badger players planned a news conference Monday to plead his case. Players have sent a letter supporting Cephus to UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, Meyer said.

"We're just asking her to do the right thing and listen to what the jury says," Meyer said.

The women testified at trial that Cephus sexually assaulted them on the same night in April 2018 and they were too drunk to consent to sex. Cephus testified that the sex was consensual and was arranged by one of his accusers.

The jury deliberated for just over 30 minutes before arriving at a not guilty verdict.

Cephus has said since the verdict that his top priority is returning to school and playing football again.

 

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