Not so surprisingly, the Tennessee football program is putting about as much distance as it can between itself and Michael Williams.
Back in February, the cornerback, along with former UT linebacker A.J. Johnson, were indicted by a Knox County (Tenn.) grand jury on an aggravated rape charge. Williams and Johnson were each suspended in November after the sexual assault allegations involving two female UT students surfaced.
Monday, the Associated Press wrote, “Tennessee officials didn’t say whether Williams had been permanently kicked off the team, but when athletic department spokesman Jason Yellin was asked if there were any circumstances under which Williams could return, Yellin reiterated that, ‘We’ve moved on.'”
According to reports that surfaced in mid-November, a 19-year-old UT student claimed that Johnson and Williams raped her at the former’s residence at a Knoxville apartment complex. The unnamed woman claimed that the assault lasted 45 minutes, and occurred during the course of a party being held following UT’s win over Kentucky.
Another 19-year-old woman claimed she was sexually assaulted at the same location around the same time by Williams.
The first woman was treated at the UT Medical Center. The second alleged woman declined treatment and headed back to her home in Florida. She had declined to pursue charges despite her initial claims of being sexually assaulted; whether she cooperated with the grand jury is unknown.
Shortly after the reports surfaced, both players were indefinitely suspended by the football program. Johnson’ eligibility has expired, while Williams’ has not.
Williams started five of the 10 games he played in 2015.
In addition to Williams, current UT wide receiver Von Pearson was indefinitely suspended in late April after he was named as a suspect in a separate rape investigation. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Pearson is not enrolled in school for the summer; is not listed in the student directory; is still listed on the Vols’ football roster; and his status has not changed since the initial suspension, a team spokesperson confirmed.