MADISON (WKOW) — An attorney for Quintez Cephus says the University of Wisconsin-Madison is dragging its feet when it comes to readmitting the former Badgers wide receiver after a jury acquitted him in his recent sexual assault trial.
Steve Meyer, Cephus’ chief defense attorney in the sexual assault trial, said the university “sent us a clear message they do not want him (Cephus) as a student this coming semester.”
Cephus held a news conference Monday afternoon with his legal team and members of the UW football team at his side.
He said he’s not angry at the university for their actions during the investigation and trial but he just wants to be at the school where he’s felt so much support.
“My brothers supported me the whole time and I learned a lot from it,” he said.
According to his attorney, Kathleen Stillman and Stephen Meyer, it’s time for the university to follow the jury’s lead, and overturn their expulsion, given the former Badger’s acquittal.
“The answer that was so clear to the jury should also be clear to the administration,” Stillman said.
“The information provided today by attorney Stephen Meyer is false,” a statement from UW-Madison said. “UW-Madison is committed to performing a complete and thorough review of any petition for reinstatement that it receives.”
The University went on to say it is in the midst of a review of Cephus’ court records, but the records first have to be gathered.
Meyer said that could take months.
The timing is particularly difficult for Cephus’s football career. According to NCAA bylaws, if the UW reinstates him, he could play this season. If they don’t, he would have to enroll at another school and sit out a full calendar year before he’s eligible to play.
Cephus has already used two years of his eligibility at the UW and sat our last year due to the investigation and trial. That means he only has three years left to finish his last two years of eligibility and with football season fast approaching, he’ll likely have to decide whether or not to transfer before the end of the month.
Still, both Cephus’s attorneys and former teammates said their demands are not about football. Badger senior captain Chris Orr said Cephus deserves to be back at school with the people who supported him on and off the field.
“It has nothing to do with either him being a Wisconsin Badger again or him playing football again,” Orr said. “We love him as a brother.”
Many of Cephus’ teammates wrote a letter to Chancellor Rebbeca Blank calling their former fellow badger “a caring, loving, trustworthy, loyal, appreciative, authentic, open-minded and truly special person.”
UW-Madison reserved the right to find Cephus in violation of the school’s own rules, saying “Generally speaking, it’s important to note that the University of Wisconsin System’s code of student 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.”
According to UW Policy, because Cephus’s expulsion came as a result of sexual assault charges, it’s up to the chief administrative officer at the UW-Madison and the school’s Title IX coordinator to determine whether or not he can be reinstated.
A jury cleared Cephus of two counts of sexual assault after a week-long trial. He was accused of raping two women at his apartment in April 2018. Throughout the trial, he maintained the sexual encounter was consensual.
Meyer scheduled a press conference for 4 p.m. Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in front of a bust of the civil rights leader. Several of Cephus’ former teammates, many of whom took to Twitter to advocate for the wideout’s return with the hashtag #LetQTPlay, will attend in a show of support.
Meyer implored UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank to “do the right thing.”
“I would like to thank everyone who contributed in helping me overcome the largest hurdle I’ve ever faced in life,” Cephus wrote on Instagram regarding the trial. “Also my teammates, my friends, and everyone in the Wisconsin community that supported me, kept faith in me and, help guide me through this dark journey. I love you all.”