With the start of the season looming, the great “Will he? Won’t he?” question remains unanswered.
The “he” in this scenario is Maurice Washington, the Nebraska running back who still has a legal issue out in California hanging over his head. Less than 24 hours before NU kicks off the 2019 season against South Alabama, Washington’s availability for the opener is still uncertain — and will apparently remain that way right up until the noon kickoff.
“The decision’s going to be made before kickoff, before the game starts on Saturday, and I guess you guys will know then,” head coach Scott Frost said according to the Lincoln Journal Star. “I know the ball’s not in his court; it’s in our court as a university and a football program to decide, but he’s been doing a great job, doing everything we ask of him through fall camp.
“So he’ll be ready [to play] if that’s the decision that is made.”
Appearing in a Santa Clara County (Calif.) courtroom in April, Washington was arraigned on a pair of charges, one a felony and the other a misdemeanor, in connection to a situation whose genesis was a little over a year ago. In mid-February, a Santa Clara County judge signed a warrant filed a couple of days earlier that sought the arrest of the Nebraska running back for alleged violation of that state’s revenge-porn law. It’s alleged that Washington sent a sexually-explicit 10-second video, recorded two years prior by someone other than Washington, involving a then-15-year-old female and two other boys, neither of whom was Washington, to that same female in early March of 2018. The female has claimed she is being sexually assaulted in the video, which allegedly shows the teenager performing oral sex on one boy while another masturbates.
Washington is facing a felony count of possessing a video or photograph of a person under 18 who is engaging in or simulating sexual conduct and a misdemeanor count of posting a video or photograph of a person engaging in or simulating sexual conduct without consent, leading to the person suffering emotional distress. Washington had dated the alleged victim prior to the video being recorded.
Last month, Washington’s preliminary court appearance was pushed back to the morning of Sept. 3, after Nebraska’s opener. That appearance had originally been scheduled for mid-June before it too was pushed back.
After some academic uncertainty throughout the offseason, Washington was cleared to join the Cornhuskers football team in early August of last year. As a true freshman, and despite the off-field cloud hanging over him from the start of the season, Washington rushed for 455 yards and three touchdowns, numbers that were both good for third on the team. His 24 receptions were also third-best, while his 221 receiving yards were fourth.
In addition to the Golden State woes, Washington was cited by university police for possession of drug paraphernalia. It was subsequently confirmed that Washington, and three other Cornhusker football players cited for pot-related offenses, would not face criminal charges.