Quentez Cephus has been reinstated by the University of Wisconsin and is seeking a successful return to the Badger football team as well following a yearlong investigation that culminated in a jury acquitting him of two sexual assault charges after only 45 minutes of deliberation.
Cephus, who was out of town over the weekend, says he received a call while on a plane that he would indeed be allowed to resume his life as a student at UW Madison.
At a press conference on Monday, Cephus said that his love for and loyalty to his teammates kept him going throughout this ordeal. Over the course of the past several weeks Cephus has been asked why he chose to remain at Wisconsin when he could easily have taken his talents to a different school by now.
“Because of my teammates and my coaches and them doing as much as they could to help me,” Cephus said of his reason for staying at Wisconsin after his ordeal. He said Badgers head coach Paul Chryst told him he was happy to have him back.
“I’m here to come back to school and go to practice,” Cephus said. “I’m ready to win football games and start back in my education. I expect to do both at a high level. Hopefully I have a clear enough mind to get back to being on the academic Big Ten team.”
The entire team has been behind Cephus since day one and let it be known in a letter to Chancellor Rebecca Blank last week that they believed he should be back on the team. Prominent Black leaders in Madison also wrote to Blank urging her to readmit Cephus.
A statement from Blank announcing the reinstatemnt included concerns from the University that the clearing of Cephus’ name by a jury earlier this month might make it more difficult for people to come forward with allegations of sexual assault.
During the press conference one reporter stated that she had contacted the Rape Crisis Center to ask them how they felt about Cephus’ reinstatement and asked Cephus directly if he had any message for victims of sexual assault.
“I’m not sure it’s fair to ask him that,” Cephus’ attorney Kathleen Stilling said during a heated response. “Quentez just went through a year where he was falsely accused of sexual assault. Like everybody else here Quentez feels strongly about real victims of sexual assault.”
Cephus Attorney Stephen Meyer added, “He spent a year of his life being badgered about this. Time to stop. He’s an innocent man.”
Additionally, another local news outlet stated that University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank was put in a difficult situation by having to, according to that outlet, weigh the feelings of African-Americans on campus against the feelings of sexual assault survivors, as if the feelings of those two groups were both monolithic and mutually exclusive.
For his part Quentez Cephus, who is 21, responded to a question from Madison365 about why it took so long for his reinstatement by saying he honestly does not know. Cephus was on a flight back from his native Macon, Georgia when he heard the news about his reinstatement.
“I was extremely happy,” Cephus said beaming. “I was on the plane just bouncing around.”
Cephus does not expect to have any rust to his game and says he has kept in shape during his time away.
He says he fully expects to play for the Badgers this season.