Whalen has been suspended from team

Updated: November 4, 2004, 3:56 PM ET
Associated Press

PROVO, Utah -- Suspended Brigham Young University running back Marcus Whalen has pleaded guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges of assault and making a false statement in an alleged attack.

Whalen, 22, and suspended wide receiver Breyon Jones, 21, both appeared in 4th District Court.

Whalen accepted a plea bargain and in exchange a felony count of robbery was dismissed. Sentencing was set for Nov. 17.

Jones said he was seeking a new lawyer and did not enter a plea.

The charges stemmed from an allegation by Yussufu R. Nsabimana that Whalen and Jones beat him up twice and robbed him on April 14 in Provo. He said he, Whalen, Jones and another acquaintance had been drinking at a bar and the men argued. He said $125 was stolen from him.

Whalen and Jones were suspended by BYU until January 2005 for violations of the school's honor code, which, among other things, prohibits consumption of alcohol.

The misdemeanor counts to which Whalen pleaded guilty are punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Prosecutor Jason Sant told the court that Whalen has agreed to pay about $250 in restitution to the victim.

"It's been pretty rough, I didn't want to leave football and my teammates," said Whalen, who was the Cougars' leading rusher in 2002.

Whalen has no more eligibility to play college football, and he plans to make a highlight tape and send it to teams in the Canadian Football League and the Arena Football League.

Jones still has one more year of eligibility and hopes to return to BYU. For now, he is taking classes at Utah Valley State College.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press