Smith, Schaeffer avoid jail time

Updated: June 9, 2005, 1:38 PM ET
Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A Tennessee receiver and former quarterback pleaded guilty Thursday to charges stemming from a campus fight and will pay restitution but avoid jail time.

Receiver Bret Smith and quarterback Brent Schaeffer, were charged with misdemeanor assault over a fight with another student in a campus dorm. Coach Phillip Fulmer suspended them from the team April 11, a day after they were arrested.

Smith and Schaeffer pleaded guilty to offensive touching, a lesser charge.

They were sentenced to six months of judicial diversion. If they meet the terms of the sentence and avoid further legal troubles, they can apply to have the conviction cleared from their records.

Schaeffer agreed to pay up to $700 to the victim, Quantavios Emerson, for medical bills and $700 for missed school work.

Last season, Schaeffer became the first true freshman to start at quarterback in a Southeastern Conference opener since Georgia's John Rauch in 1945. Schaeffer, of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and fellow freshman Erik Ainge were considered co-starters until both were injured.

Schaeffer, who broke his collarbone in October, would have battled with Ainge and senior Rick Clausen to regain the starting job. But Fulmer said he and Schaeffer agreed that the quarterback should leave Tennessee.

Smith, of Warren, Ark., led all receivers last year as a sophomore with five touchdown catches.

Police have said Emerson was arguing with Schaeffer's girlfriend when Schaeffer hit Emerson in the neck. Each then grabbed bats but dropped them before hitting anyone. Next, Schaeffer picked up Emerson from behind and threw him down.

Emerson struck his head on the floor. Smith then hit Emerson while he was on the floor, a police report said. Emerson when to the hospital where he got four staples to close a cut on his head, authorities said.

They are among the 11 Tennessee players who have been either arrested or cited for crimes ranging from aggravated assault to underage drinking since February 2004. Six have remained at the school, while the other five left because they either graduated, transferred or were kicked off the team.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press