After being found not guilty early last week on a pair of sexual assault charges, Quintez Cephus, in seeking readmission to Wisconsin, had requested an answer by that Thursday. That date came and went without an answer and, five days later, uncertainty continues to swirl over the wide receiver’s future status with not only the football program but with the university itself.
Cephus’ attorney, Steve Meyer, created quite the stir on Monday by claiming that the University of Wisconsin-Madison had “sent us a clear message they do not want… Cephus to be a student at the university this semester.” Not long after, the university released a statement in which it very stridently pushed back against the attorney’s contention:
The information provided today by attorney Stephen Meyer is false.
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.
It’s unclear if either the player or the football program will receive clarification before the start of the 2019 season, although a handful of Cephus’ former teammates — Zach Baun, Tyler Biadasz, Jack Coan, Garrett Groshek, Chris Orr, AJ Taylor and Jonathan Taylor — signed a letter directed at Chancellor Rebecca Blank seeking the receiver’s immediate reinstatement.
You have all the facts. You and your staff now have an opportunity to make a fully informed decision for the first time. Your decision can alleviate a racial tension felt by your students. You get to decide if the University confirms or corrects this feeling.
Two days after very loudly proclaiming his innocence and announcing he was taking a leave of absence from the Wisconsin football team, Cephus was charged in late August of last year with felony sexual assault of an intoxicated victim and felony sexual assault. The criminal complaint filed against him stated that he allegedly “sexually assaulted two drunken women at once in the bedroom of his apartment in April” of 2018.
It took a jury of his peers less than 45 minutes to acquit him on both of those counts earlier this month.
Cephus was initially suspended by the Badgers football program before being expelled by the university last semester. In October of last year, Cephus sued the University of Wisconsin-Madison in U.S. District Court, claiming that the school violated his constitutional rights. That suit was dropped in March of this year.
In 2017, Cephus led the run-centric Badgers in receiving touchdowns with six and yards per catch at 16.7. His 501 receiving yards were good for second, while his 30 receptions were third on the team. Because of the off-field situation that led to the suspension, Cephus didn’t play at all in 2018.
Cephus still has two years of eligibility he could use, either at UW or another FBS program. He would be eligible to play immediately if he decided to transfer from the Badgers.