The news first surfaced yesterday afternoon that an ex-Vanderbilt football player indicted in an on-campus sexual assault had transferred to Alcorn State and made his season debut for the Braves this past Saturday.
Less than 24 hours later, the FCS program has done an abrupt about-face.
In a statement from the school’s president, it was announced that Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie has been removed from the football program until further notice. McKenzie, the son of a former Alcorn basketball player, had enrolled at the school earlier this month.
“Alcorn failed to sufficiently examine the allegations against McKenzie before allowing him to participate in our football program,” university President M. Christopher Brown II said in his statement.
“In an effort to provide educational opportunities to a southwest Mississippi student, Alcorn State University made an error in judgment.”
Along with three of his former Commodore teammates — Brandon Banks, Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg – McKenzie was charged with one count of aggravated rape and one count of sexual battery in early August. The four players were dismissed in late June by Vandy for their alleged role in the on-campus attack; they were indicted a month and a half later.
Prior to the announcement that McKenzie had been removed from the team, Braves head coach Jay Hopson told the Associated Press that he believes his new player to be “100-percent innocent” and that’s why he was permitted to play.
“We’ll just let the process take care of itself,” Hopson said. “And let the whole world figure out that this kid, from everything that I know, that this kid did absolutely nothing. So like I said, if somebody can tell me or show me where he did something, then I may sing a different song.
“But right now, from everything I know, everything that’s been shown to me through numerous phone calls and talking to many people involved in this case, I can’t find anything that says this kid is guilty.”