MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus was declared eligible to play Friday, a year after he was suspended in the fallout from a sexual assault allegation that resulted in his acquittal by a jury at trial.
Cephus was suspended from the team in August 2018 after prosecutors charged him with assaulting two women in his apartment the preceding April. The university expelled him earlier this year before he finished the spring semester for violating its nonacademic misconduct code.
A jury acquitted Cephus of the charges earlier this month and Chancellor Rebecca Blank allowed him to return to school. The athletic department said he wasn’t eligible to play in games but didn’t elaborate. Coach Paul Chryst said the problem was related to a lack of credits.
Wisconsin football spokesman Brian Lucas said Friday the NCCA has cleared Cephus and he is eligible for the 19th-ranked Badgers, who open the season Aug. 30 at South Florida.
Cephus tweeted that he’s thankful he can play again. The 6-foot-1, 207-pound junior earned All-Big Ten honorable mention honors in 2017 before not seeing the field last season.
Cephus played in 23 games for Wisconsin in 2016 and 2017, including 13 starts, hauling in 34 passes for 595 yards and six touchdowns. The Georgia native also has nine career carries for 46 rushing yards.
Cephus accumulated 501 yards receiving in the 2017 season and led the team with six touchdown catches despite breaking his right leg against Indiana and missing the final five games of the season.
Cephus returned to practice on Wednesday. Chryst said then that Cephus didn’t get a “ton of reps” but it as “great having him out here.”
“But it was his first practice, so you just treat him a guy who’s at his first practice,” Chryst said. “Certainly he’s excited to be back with a group that means a ton to him. I haven’t asked him anything specific like how do you feel, but certainly everyone has gone through a lot, him being one of them.”