This is not a good look, at all, for the player specifically and the football program in general.
On Oct. 15, Louisville tight end Kemari Averett was arrested on a pair of charges, including one felony, after he was accused of holding a gun to the head of his girlfriend, who is also the mother of his child, and threatening to kill her. The sophomore was indefinitely suspended by the football program two days later.
Prior to that, the Louisville Courier-Journal first reported, another unidentified woman alleged she was raped by Averett in mid-August and reported the incident to an on-campus crisis center the same day the sexual assault allegedly occurred. On Oct. 8, the university ordered Averett to have no contact whatsoever with the woman; on Oct. 9, a report was filed with the university police department regarding the alleged rape and an investigation was launched.
Four days later, Averett was on the field for the U of L’s road trip to Boston College.
“If the university notifies us of information that necessitates action, we act. We did not have information that would have suspended [Averett] from competition,” athletic director Vince Tyra said in a statement earlier this week, addressing whether or not the football program was aware of the rape investigation when Averett played against the Eagles.
Thursday night, head coach Bobby Petrino, who had remained silent as Averett’s issues grew, issued a statement as well.
Kemari was already suspended from all team activity due to the incident on Oct. 15 when I was notified of the most recent charge against him. He remains on suspension from all football activities and facilities while an investigation is conducted. I take all charges of misconduct seriously and act swiftly when conduct does not meet our expectations.
In an interview with the Courier-Journal, Averett claimed he had a previous relationship with his accuser, but had not spoken to her in the four months leading up to the alleged sexual assault. Averett further claimed that he was at football practice at the time of the alleged sexual assault and could provide corroborating evidence, although he declined to share it with the newspaper.
Averett’s defense attorney, Aubrey Williams, described the rape accusation to ESPN.com as “baseless garbage. As of this posting, the player has not been charged in connection to the alleged rape.
“I’m already looking like the bad guy,” Averett told the Courier-Journal. “I know my word, it don’t matter right now. … I’m just the big and bad guy.”
In connection to the incident involving the girlfriend who is the mother of Averett’s child, Williams, the player’s attorney, told the Courier-Journal following a preliminary hearing Thursday that his client has been evicted from an off-campus apartment affiliated with the university and barred from stepping foot on school grounds. “The county prosecutor said in Thursday’s hearing that Averett has been deemed a Persona Non Grata by the University of Louisville, explained on the university’s website as ‘a person who is not welcome at the University of Louisville,'” the newspaper wrote.
Averett was originally facing one count each of felony first-degree wanton endangerment and misdemeanor fourth-degree domestic violence. The former charge has since been amended to second-degree wanton endangerment, a misdemeanor. A jury trial on that case is on the docket for late February of next year.
Averett, a true sophomore from Atlanta, had started four games for the Cardinals through the first half of the season. He’s caught eight passes for 65 yards and was tied for the team lead with two receiving touchdowns prior to the off-field issues surfacing.