Kevin Grayson, the University of Richmond football team's top receiver last season, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery and has been sentenced to 50 hours of community service as part of a plea agreement reached after a fraternity fight in February.
Grayson, a redshirt freshman, also received a six-month suspended jail sentence for three years as part of the plea deal between Grayson's defense lawyer and Commonwealth Attorney Elizabeth Hobbs.
Grayson, a Richmond native, had been charged with felony malicious wounding by senior Brett Waikart after a scuffle at the Sigma Chi Fraternity lodge Feb. 8. Waikart suffered a broken nose after Grayson punched him, but police were not summoned to the scene that night.
Waikart, from Rockville, Md., filed the charge four days later on Feb. 11 with the University of Richmond Police Department.
Grayson was arrested on Feb. 13 and a day later filed with university police his own countercharge of misdemeanor simple assault against Waikart.
A judge heard the case in Richmond General District Court March 20. Waikart was not convicted of any wrongdoing.
"Had the evidence shown that Brett Waikart was guilty of a criminal offense, a criminal trial would have proceeded," said Hobbs, who prosecuted the case against Grayson.
When asked why Grayson's charge of simple assault against Waikart was dropped in the plea deal, she said: "I looked at all of the facts and all of the witness statements, and based on all of the facts, the outcome was accurate."
Waikart's attorney, Tucker Henley, would not comment on the matter beyond saying Grayson had accepted responsibility by pleading guilty to assault.
Waikart said he was hoping to move beyond the incident.
"I'm happy the whole ordeal's finally over," Waikart said. "The Commonwealth saw all the evidence, heard our stories, and decided not to pursue any charges against me."
Sigma Chi President Jonathan Brand declined to comment on the fight, saying the issue was a private matter between Grayson and Waikart.
In a March 4 closed hearing of a university panel composed of faculty and students, Waikart and Grayson were brought up on separate charges and sanctioned.
The panel was considering expelling Grayson from school, but did not levy the penalty against him, said his attorney, Joe Owen.
In the criminal hearing the plea deal was accepted because Owen said he believed Grayson's chances of making further progress in a jury trial were minimal.
"Generally both of the actors get the same [sentence]," Owen said, referring to cases similar to this one. "That's what I was frustrated about."
Grayson is taking an anger management assessment and will be on probation through graduation, he said. An e-mail message left for Waikart by The Collegian seeking comment on his sanctions was not immediately returned.
"At the trial, the judge just told me, 'Kevin, keep the peace and stay out of trouble,'" Grayson said.
Grayson was reinstated on the football team following his university hearing. He has been cleared to practice, coach Mike London said. But he's being required to complete certain "obligations" for both the school and athletic department, and will return to school in the fall provided he has completed them, London said.
London declined to elaborate further on the assessed punishment.
"I expect all the players to make good decisions, and go to places where they are welcome," said London, who was recently hired as the football team's new head coach. "I'm trying to build support from all the students at this university."
Despite an injury that caused him to miss two games, Grayson led the team in 2007 with 68 receptions for 970 yards. He also had seven touchdowns during the season, including two during the Spiders' 55-35 loss to Appalachian State University in the semifinals of the Football Championship Subdivision tournament.
Waikart is a finance major and rhetoric and communications studies minor. He served as president of Sigma Chi from spring 2007 to fall 2007.