Flying in the face of what other people thought was best for his football future, Montee Ball has confirmed Wednesday’s reports: he’s heading back to school.
At a press conference Thursday, Ball announced that he will return to Wisconsin for his senior season. Ball was given a third-round grade by the NFL’s draft advisory committee, which likely was the overriding factor in his decision to stay with the Badgers for another season.
“I believe that I am mentally ready (for the NFL),” Ball said, “but I think I need to become stronger and faster and I believe another year in the program will most definitely get me to that level.
“I do believe that I need to come back for my degree because education is most important and that will give me another year to become a better football player. I believe it’s a win-win situation.”
This decision is actually no surprise to the UW football program; the running back informed his coaches after telling his parents Saturday and his teammates in the locker room following the Rose Bowl loss to Oregon Monday that he would be returning for another year.
Ball currently leads the nation in rushing with 1,923 yards and scored 39 total touchdowns this season — 33 rushing, six receiving.
Along with Matt Barkley, who also surprised most observers by returning to USC for another season, Ball will enter the 2012 season as one of the Heisman front-runners. He was a finalist for the stiff-arm trophy in 2011, and finished fourth in the voting; the three finalists who finished ahead of him — Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Alabama’s Trent Richardson — all either have announced or are expected to announce they are leaving early for the NFL draft.
For the second time in as many days, a former Baylor football player has been arrested for his connection to an alleged gang rape in 2013., according to The Dallas Morning News. Myke Chatman, a former Baylor running back, was arrested Thursday by U.S. Marshals for suspected gang rape of a female Baylor student one day after former Baylor teammate Tre'Von Armstead was arrested and charged for the same incident.
Chatman and Armstead had previously been suspected of rape in 2013 but no charges were dropped at the time after the alleged victim chose not to pursue legal action against the football players. The woman filed charges against Baylor University in January and has since reached a settlement with the university. However, information from the lawsuit led to more information being revealed and shared with the authorities to contribute to ongoing investigations since these issues have been brought back to life in recent years.
Armstead was arrested for the second time this month, with the most recent arrest related to this 2013 incident. Earlier in March, Armstead was arrested for domestic battery, resisting arrest and damaging a police vehicle.
Sophomore defensive end Isaiah Washington has been ruled ineligible for the spring practice season at LSU, according to Ross Dellenger of The Advocate.
Washington was a four-star recruit in LSU’s Class of 2015. The New Orleans native appeared in six games for the Tigers as a freshman. Washington did not play in the 2016 season due to a knee injury suffered in the summer. He was slated to be a backup linebacker and defensive end in 2016 prior to the injury. It is expected to be a backup option for LSU’s defensive line with all four starters back this season.
Former Baylor and Boise State football player Sam Ukwuachu has had his conviction for sexual assault overturned, but he is far from free just yet. The 10th Couth of Appeals in Texas overturned a sexual assault conviction on Thursday and is sending the case back to district court for a brand new trial.
The Court of Appeals determined phone evidence used by the prosecution was improperly used and attained.
“In six issues, Ukwuachu complains that the trial court erred by allowing the State to reference the cell phone records of his roommate during its cross-examination of his roommate and his roommate’s friend, that the indictment was defective, that evidence of an extraneous offense was improperly admitted, that his due process rights were violated due to an abuse of the grand jury process by the State, and that text messages between the victim and a friend of hers the night of the alleged offense were improperly excluded,” an elaborate ruling from the Court of Appeals explained. “Because we find that the trial court erred by disallowing the admission of evidence … we reverse the judgment of conviction and remand this proceeding for a new trial.”
“While I respect the 10th Court of Appeals, I disagree with their decision and reasoning in this case,” McLennan County District Attorney Abelk Reyna said upon learning of the appeal decision. “I am extremely confident in the decisions made by our prosecutors and the rulings made by Judge Johnson in the trial of this case.”
Ukwuachu transferred from Boise State to Baylor after being dismissed by the Broncos program in 2013, reportedly following a case of depression in Boise. Boise State denied any knowledge of Ukwuachu’s violence toward women when he was with the program, which was prompted by comments from former Baylor head coach Art Briles. Former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen did claim to have informed Briles of Ukwuachu’s violent past.
Ukwuachu was found guilty and sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation for rape in August 2015.
The alleged victim of Ukwuachu has already settled a lawsuit with Baylor.
One day after Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill to allow concealed guns to be carried into football stadiums, the state senate voted to make an exemption to block guns on game day.
The house bill that was signed into law by the governor this week would have allowed those with proper training to be allowed to bring a concealed handgun into an otherwise restricted area such as a football stadium. The bill overruled any stadium policies banning weapons as well, but that will no longer be the case.
According to the Associated Press, the Arkansas state senate voted 22-10 in favor of an exemption to the rule that would uphold a weapons ban in football stadiums throughout the state. The law will still allow those with the proper training to carry a concealed handgun on college campuses, in bars and government buildings, but football stadiums are off limits.
The amended bill still must pass through the House of Representatives in Arkansas.