Update - Sept. 13, 10:00 a.m., EDT: Alcorn State president M. Christopher Brown II announced last night that Jaborian McKenzie has been taken off Alcorn State’s football team. Said Brown: “Alcorn failed to sufficiently examine the allegations against McKenzie before allowing him to participate in our football program. In an effort to provide educational opportunities to a Southwest Mississippi student, Alcorn State University made an error in judgment.”
One of the four former Vanderbilt football players currently being accused of multiple counts of rape following an incident in which a woman was allegedly raped and videotaped while unconscious in a campus dorm has transferred to Alcorn State and, last Saturday, returned three kickoffs for 80 yards in a matchup against Mississippi State.
The Nashville Post was the first to report the news about Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie, 19, of Woodville, Mississippi. McKenzie was released from jail on Aug. 10 after turning himself in and posting bail. He and three other players stand accused of five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of sexual assault.
An attorney representing McKenzie would not comment. An Alcorn State spokesperson did not return a call seeking comment about the process by which McKenzie was admitted to the school and allowed to play for the team. Alcorn State plays in the “Football Championship Subdivision” of the NCAA, one step below the highest “Football Bowl Subdivision” level, but they do provide athletic scholarships and had offered McKenzie such a scholarship when he was a high school recruit.
Cory Batey, 19, of Nashville, another former Vanderbilt player charged with multiple counts of rape and sexual assault, is in the process of transferring. According to Batey’s attorney, Worrick Robinson, the redshirt freshman has been accepted at Tennessee State but is currently locked in a dispute with Vanderbilt over the release of his school transcripts. Tennessee State has not returned a request to confirm Batey’s acceptance.
Brandon Banks, 19, of Brandywine, Md., who is also accused of rape and sexual assault, is in Maryland taking online courses, according to Banks’ attorney Mark Scruggs, who would not comment further. The classes are not being taken through Vanderbilt.
An attorney representing Brandon Vandenberg, the California junior college transfer who allegedly brought the victim to the room where the incident took place, did not return a call seeking comment about the 20-year-old’s plans.
The next court appearance for the four has been pushed back a month to Oct. 16, the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office announced on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Vanderbilt wide receiver Chris Boyd, who was charged with being an accessory after the fact for allegedly telling Vandenberg to delete video of the incident, will appear in court tomorrow. Sources say prosecutors and Boyd’s attorney have reached a plea deal.
According to a source close to the negotiations, Boyd will likely plead guilty under “judicial diversion,” which is a conditional plea of guilt under which Boyd will likely be placed on probation and, as long as he complies with the terms of probation, eventually have his charge expunged.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this item incorrectly identified the school Batey intends to transfer to and misstated the provider of Banks’ online classes. (9/13/13)