Mistrial declared in rape case involving ex-Vandy football players


Back in January, two former Vanderbilt football players, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, were convicted on multiple counts in connection to a July 2013 rape on the university’s campus.  Five months later, a judge has declared a mistrial in the case.

“The defendants have a right to a fair and impartial trial, a right that was violated by juror #9’s conduct,” the judge wrote in an order released Tuesday, The Tennessean reported.

The newspaper went on to write that “[h]is order did not address how the case will proceed going forward, and whether a new trial date would be set.”  As for the reason behind a mistrial being declared, the paper explained it thusly:

After trial, defense attorneys discovered one juror was a victim in a statutory rape case 15 years ago. They argued on June 15 that the judge should declare a mistrial because that juror could not have been impartial based on his own personal experience. They said the juror intentionally did not disclose that past experience because he wanted to get on the jury.

Prosecutors responded by arguing the juror did not attempt to sway other jurors during deliberations. Called to testify, the juror said he did not even think of the past case until after the trial had ended.

Vandenburg, Batey and two other former Vandy football players, Brandon Banks and Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenzie, were initially charged Aug. 9, 2013, with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery each after a police investigation determined that the four had raped an unconscious woman. The first two had been convicted of multiple counts of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery, while the other two are still awaiting trial.

On June 28 of 2013, Vanderbilt announced that four unnamed players had been indefinitely suspended amid reports that the players were connected to an alleged sex crimes case.  The next day, Vandy officials further clarified the players’ statuses, releasing a statement announcing the dismissals of the four.  That release further added that none of the four will be permitted to return to campus without permission from the office of student conduct and academic integrity.

Front-runner for K-State QB job has never started a game at QB…ever


Three players are in contention to replace Jake Waters for Kansas State’s starting quarterback job. There’s sophomore Jesse Ertz and freshman Alex Delton, but the front-runner has to be junior Joe Hubener. Hubener’s the most experienced of the bunch after seeing action in seven games a year ago, completing 9-of-17 passes for 235 yards with a touchdown and an interception while rushing 27 times for 142 yards and three touchdowns.

Oddly enough, though, the experienced candidate has exactly zero experience as a starting quarterback.

“I have never started a game of high school football at quarterback, so this would be my first starting game as a quarterback,” Hubener told the Wichita Eagle. That is something pretty huge for me. It is crazy.”

A former walk-on, Hubener arrived in Manhattan from Cheyney High School, where he played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. That versatility has served him well as he efforts to take the reins of the Wildcats’ reconfigured offense.

“Joe is a guy who will lower his shoulder down and get that extra yard,” said tackle Cody Whitehair. “You want a guy who can do both (throw and run). You don’t want a one-dimensional offense. That is what Coach Snyder stresses. He likes guys who are two-dimensional.”

Kansas State opens with South Dakota on Sept. 5. For Hubener, it could be a debut in more ways than one.


Broken hand brings early end to TCU WR Doctson’s spring

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If you are going to break your hand, the spring is probably the more ideal season to do so, at least compared to the fall. TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson will miss the remainder of the spring practice season with a broken hand. The injury does not seem to leave head coach Gary Patterson with much concern for Doctson’s status in the fall.

Josh will be good,” Patterson said Friday, per The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Josh had had good practices. But you can’t catch with a cast on your hand.”

No you cannot. Not that he has much to prove at TCU this spring anyway. Doctson was TCU’s leading receiver in 2014 with 1-,018 receiving yards (8th in the Big 12) and a Big 12-high 11 touchdowns (tied with Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett and Baylor’s Corey Coleman). TCU is starting to get thin in receiver depth this spring. Deante’ Gray will also sit out the remainder of the spring as a result of a non-contact injury and Emanuel Porter hurt a finger.

Doctson reportedly suffered the injury earlier this week and is expected to undergo surgery to repair the broken bone.

K-State’s Tyler Lockett wins Jet Award (What is the Jet Award?)


Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett was named the winner of the Jet Award, it was announced Thursday. Just what, exactly, is the Jet Award? Great question.

According to TheJetAward.com, “The Jet Award honors the most exciting and electrifying play in college football, the return. Those daredevils that dare to participate who we call specialists.” Okay, then.

Given in honor of Heisman Trophy winner and College Football Hall of Famer Johnny “Jet” Rodgers of Nebraska, the Jet Award has been in existence since 2011. Joe Adams (Arkansas), Tavon Austin (West Virginia) and Ty Montgomery (Stanford) preceded Lockett in claiming the historic honor.

Kansas State’s all-time leading receiver, Lockett led the nation with a 19.1-yard punt return average and ranked third nationally in all-purpose yards per game at 176.6. The Tulsa product led the Big 12 in punt returns, receiving yards and all-purpose yards and finished his career ranked second among all Wildcats in all-purpose yardage, trailing only Darren Sproles.

Lockett will accept the honor April 2 in Omaha.

Two ex-Vanderbilt players found guilty in rape trial


The trial of former Vanderbilt players Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey concluded Tuesday with both players being found guilty of all charges. The pair was on trial together but were represented by different lawyers.

The pair was accused of a July 2013 rape, along with two other players – Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon Banks – who still await trial.

Deputy district attorney Tom Thurman told the jury the accused thought their status as Vanderbilt football players allowed them to escape justice. “That’s the culture that you really saw here. Their mindset that they can get away with anything,” Thurman said.

The jury deliberated for close to three hours and found both men guilty of all seven counts of aggravated rape or sexual battery. Vandenburg, who was accused of initiating the events of that fateful day, also faced two more counts of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography.

Sentencing is set for March 6.

“I was just drunk out of my mind,” Batey said Monday. “This is something I would never do in my right state of mind. I’m just sorry.”

Vanderburg’s attorney Fletcher Long argued his client took pictures of the acts but did not participate himself. “He took photographs that he never should have taken,” said Long.