Former Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Quintez Cephus is trying to return to the University of Wisconsin after being found not guilty of sexual assault allegations earlier this month. Cephus won his case in a court of law but that victory has not translated into his getting back onto the field for the Badgers or even getting back into the classroom at the University of Wisconsin.
Cephus recently applied to be reinstated at UW after being suspended from the team last year following charges stemming from an alleged sexual assault of two women. Cephus was subsequently expelled by UW prior to any findings from the courts.
On Aug. 2, Cephus was found not guilty of all charges after only 45 minutes of jury deliberation. Following the jury’s decision, Cephus has been anxious to get back into the University and even back onto the football field.
Yesterday at a news conference, Cephus’ attorney, Stephen Meyer, said that the University has been slow in considering whether to reinstate Cephus.
In its own statement on Monday, UW says that it is “committed to performing a complete and thorough review of any petition for reinstatement that it receives.”
“In most cases, this involves a full review of all relevant court records, which in this case were not provided in the petition,” the university said in a statement. “We are working to gather this information currently and will complete our review of the petition as quickly as possible once we have it. No decision on this matter has been made at this time.”
However, Cephus supporters have pointed out that the trial and jury finding were extremely public and well-covered in local media. Furthermore, Cephus’ attorney said he made available more than 250 pages of evidence (including evidence that had been inadmissible during court proceedings) that spoke to Cephus’ innocence.
UW-Madison’s statement, however, also says that the University’s code of conduct is separate from criminal law and that students may be held responsible for violations of the code regardless of whether those violations are also criminal.
It goes on to say that state and federal law requires the UW to apply the code of conduct impartially and consistently regardless of the identities of the individuals involved.
Yesterday, following the press conference, Cephus greeted supporters and teammates who had trudged through the rain and, in some cases, multiple downtown buildings to find the press conference and show their support. A group of elementary school-aged kids brought signs supporting Cephus and asking him to score another touchdown for them. Cephus autographed the signs and memorabilia for those kids and maintained an upbeat vibe throughout the proceedings.
“I feel happy that I’m able to continue my life,” Cephus told Madison365 in an exclusive interview. “I’m happy that I have the support of my teammates and my coaches and all of the support of the Madison community, as well. I just look forward to getting back to school and to get my education and to keep going.”
For their part, members of the UW Badgers football team wrote their own statement to University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank asking for her to make their team whole again by reinstating Cephus.
The football players’ letter details Cephus’ journey through the years. The letter talked about how Cephus handled grief in the wake of his father’s death as well as a devastating injury that he had to recover from. It showed how committed Cephus was to the team and to the players on the team even as he was going through difficult times. The player’s statement referred to Cephus as a caring, loving, trustworthy, loyal and special person.
“Over the course of this time, we have remained quiet and hopeful, trusting that the truth will guide the process, decisions and, ultimately, the life-changing outcome of this case,” members of the Wisconsin football team wrote to Chancellor Blank. “Please do what is right and fair. Clear Quintez’s name and reconsider the punishment of a person, one of your students, who was found not guilty of what he was accused of.”