QB played in bowl game

Updated: January 10, 2004, 1:32 AM ET
Associated Press

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Although Arizona authorities aren't pressing sexual assault charges against Kansas State quarterback Ell Roberson over an incident prior to last week's Fiesta Bowl, coach Bill Snyder has stripped him of his scholarship for the spring semester and said he won't receive a ring for his participation in the game.

The coach, in a two-page open letter released Thursday, apologized to Kansas State fans and said that Roberson and other players he did not identify were being punished for violating unspecified team rules.

Earlier Thursday, the Maricopa County Attorney's office announced in Phoenix that Roberson would not be charged with any offense involving the 22-year-old woman who said the senior quarterback sexually assaulted her early on New Year's Day at the team's suburban hotel.

Roberson, who is from Baytown, Texas, acknowledged having sex with the woman but said it was consensual. In his hand-written statement to police, he said the woman never said "no" or "wait" and that he would have stopped if she had.

In a news release, the county attorney's office said "the only issue in the case was of consent."

"It was the unanimous decision of the bureau that Mr. Roberson could not have known the complainant did not consent," the statement said. "Therefore, given the set of facts and statements submitted in the report, there is no crime committed under Arizona law."

Maricopa County Attorney spokesman Bill FitzGerald declined to elaborate.

In addition to losing scholarships and not getting a Fiesta Bowl ring, Roberson and the other players will also be required to do community service by talking to youth groups, Snyder's statement said. The coach put the value of a semester's scholarship aid at about $8,481.

While the statement did not specify what rules had been violated, or say how many players besides Roberson were being punished, the sexual activity that Roberson acknowledged was reported to have taken place about 3:30 a.m., well after the team's 11 p.m. curfew.

In his letter, Snyder said, "I cannot adequately convey to you how badly I feel for those within the Wildcat family who, through their allegiance to our university and athletic program, are suffering immensely."

"A day has not gone by that I have not prayed that the Lord would ease the pain for our players, coaches, staff, the athletic department, the university faculty, student body, and administration, and the remarkable K-State fan base throughout the county. The accusation that was falsely made in this incident will live within each of use for a long time to come."

In the letter, Snyder reiterated concerns raised by athletic director Tim Weiser that police shouldn't have released Roberson's name because no charges had been filed.

"It is unfortunate that this damaging information was released prior to a thorough and complete investigation, which ultimately concluded there was no validity to the allegations of sexual assault or sexual abuse," Snyder said. "The fact that the initial charges were found to be erroneous in many cases will fall on deaf ears."

Ohio State beat Kansas State 35-28 in the Fiesta Bowl.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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