UPDATE: UI basketball player arrested for allegedly slugging girlfriend

UPDATE: UI basketball player arrested for allegedly slugging girlfriend

CHAMPAIGN — The focus turned to the 2016-17 season for Illinois men’s basketball following Friday’s 89-58 loss to Purdue in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.

But enough unresolved issues — the likelihood, or not, of Mike Thorne Jr. getting a medical hardship waiver and a sixth year of eligibility and Leron Black’s upcoming court case — meant Illini coach John Groce couldn’t exactly describe what that future Illinois team might look like.

“We have a lot of barriers to cross before I know fully what that is going to look like,” Groce said. “So I can’t give you the exact picture right now and just peg it because there’s still a lot of variables.”

Another barrier was erected and the picture became fuzzier Saturday morning.

Junior point guard Jaylon Tate was arrested by Champaign police early Saturday for allegedly punching his girlfriend in the face and was to remain in the county jail until at least this morning.

Tate was immediately suspended from all team activities pending the investigation into the allegations against him and the pending legal proceedings. The indefinite suspension was announced in a joint statement from Groce and new Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman.

“It is important that we take time to fully understand the events of (Friday) evening before passing judgment,” the statement read. “We condemn domestic violence in all its forms and will move swiftly and decisively if these allegations are substantiated.”

Champaign police Sgt. Bruce Ramseyer said the 19-year-old victim, also a UI athlete, confirmed for police that she had been hit once in the face by Tate but declined to give police any other information, including when and where the alleged battery happened.

Ramseyer said police were called by a friend of the woman to an apartment on South Third Street at 1:40 a.m. Saturday.

“The victim didn’t want to tell us anything. She admits dating him,” Ramseyer said. “Initially she said he hit her once. She didn’t want to answer any other questions.”

Ramseyer said the officers could see she was spitting blood and had a swollen face. She went to Carle Hospital’s emergency room to be checked out, he said.

Although not all of the police reports about the incident were complete Saturday morning, Ramseyer said officers talked with at least two of the woman’s friends, who said she told them she had been hit once or twice.

Police later made contact with Tate, who listed an address on East John Street.

“He denies any physical contact,” said Ramseyer, adding that police arrested him anyway “without incident.”

Tate, 21, was booked into the Champaign County Jail at 6:15 a.m. Saturday and is expected to make a bond court appearance this morning.

State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said she was informed of the misdemeanor arrest, but because the police reports about the incident are not finished, Tate will not go to court until this morning.

That means Tate had to remain in jail until then. Domestic battery is the only misdemeanor offense for which a suspect may not post bond without seeing a judge first.

“He is being treated the same as any other suspect arrested for domestic battery,” said Rietz, who did not have details of the alleged crime.

Tate’s arrest is the latest in a string of off-the-court incidents during Groce’s tenure at Illinois and is the fourth arrest.

Darius Paul was arrested in April 2014 and charged with resisting a police office and underage consumption of alcohol. Paul was dismissed from the team for the 2014-15 season, but rejoined the Illini for the 2015-16 season, only to be arrested again for public intoxication, vandalism and resisting arrest during the team’s trip to France in August.

The second arrest led to a suspension and Paul’s second dismissal from the team.

Black was arrested in February and charged with aggravated assault following an incident outside an Urbana nightclub. He was indefinitely suspended the next day and will return to court April 19.
Groce, who is 77-61 overall and 29-43 in the Big Ten in four seasons at Illinois, received a vote of confidence from Whitman on March 5 — exactly one week before Tate’s arrest. Black’s arrest came the same night Whitman was officially introduced as Illinois’ 14th permanent athletic director.

“I think it’s important that folks understand that John Groce is going to continue to be our basketball coach,” Whitman said last week. “He’s a first-class individual and an excellent leader. He’s a student of basketball and leadership, and I feel really comfortable with the leadership he’s given our guys.”


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Bwp 5P wrote on March 12, 2016 at 8:03 am

Sweet! What in the world is going on? More "exposure" for the Team!

Dan Bloeme wrote on March 14, 2016 at 11:03 am

Assaulting a girlfriend, wife or kids is about as bad as it gets. If Tate is shown or judged guilty, this is still another black mark on Illinois' and Groce' reputation and Tate should then be dismissed from the team ASAP. Unfortunately this makes Black's case more volatile and he may not get a 2nd chance either.

BruckJr wrote on March 12, 2016 at 8:03 am

This program is a dumpster fire under Groce.  Complete disaster.  He should have been fired long ago.  Do the right thing for this community Josh.

Tyronius P HoggLegg wrote on March 12, 2016 at 9:03 am

I'm not sure how he CANNOT fire him after this....

Moonpie wrote on March 12, 2016 at 9:03 am

And another one bites the dust.

No more trey-bombing for this fine young man under the stewardship of Coach Grimace.

Stick a fork in the team--it's done.

jdstieg wrote on March 12, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Thanks again Moonpie the Magnificient for your great, insightful comments.  All hail the Magnificient.

You are the lowest form of low life.


worldgoesroundincircles wrote on March 12, 2016 at 10:03 am

My guess is Tate will be gone. If Tracy Abrams makes it back for next season, we don't need Tate. I'm afraid that John Groce does not know how to make sound choices. The Illinois basketball program needs a HUGE wakeup call. Start recruiting better young men and stop taking chances on players who don't really care about a FREE education - or education period. I would rather have CLEAN players that can compete and care about their education then what we have now. 

Bob Patterson wrote on March 12, 2016 at 10:03 am
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Time to start cleaning house, get rid of these thugs and recruit players that want an education and appreciate the free schlorship being offered to them.  Won't miss Tate a bit since he cannot hit the broad side of a barn and also won't miss foul a minute Black.  Move them on and free up schlorship for someone deserving it.

Homeboy wrote on March 12, 2016 at 4:03 pm

You think you got thugs now? Wait till Lovie starts bringing them down from Chicago to play football.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on March 12, 2016 at 7:03 pm
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moderndaycowboy wrote on March 12, 2016 at 11:03 am

Stay classy, "Fighting" Illini.

Illini1973 wrote on March 12, 2016 at 11:03 am
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Time to bring in Deon Thomas as HC!!!

alabaster jones 71 wrote on March 12, 2016 at 7:03 pm
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Are you his agent or something?

PSL wrote on March 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

This is awful. Does anybody have any info on what Jaylon thinks about the old racist mascot?

illini82 wrote on March 12, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Miss NCAA for 3rd straight year which hasn't happened in 37 years!

And now 3 arrests in less than 12 months.

First Tate should be gone. You DON'T hit women period!
Time for Groce to go too. He has a losing program
and he has recruitied felons.
That's not an image any one who is a fan or alum can stand for.

Dan Bloeme wrote on March 12, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Kick him off the team ASAP. There is no excuse for domestic abuse. NONE. Just a thug.

peterborich wrote on March 12, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Just need an Illini center, guard, and forward to fill out the Champaign County Jail basketball team.  




annabellissimo wrote on March 12, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Too many posts here are equating problems with race. It's not about race; it's about behavior. Do any of you honestly think that bad behavior is attributable to any one race? In any case, what needs to be focused on with all athletes is appropriate behavior with high expectations for well-socialized behavior - but that should be true for all of America's young people, including but not only athletes, and it should address all kinds of anti-social behavior including drunkenness, vandalism, crimes, sexual misconduct (like the Minneapolis suspended players), and all of the rest of the bad behavior reported on all the time from college students. If athletes report to college with apparent poor socialization training from their own backgrounds, then it should be considered an obligation and an honorable thing for colleges to do that training - whether it's how to conduct oneself in relationships, good manners, ethics, honesty, whatever is needed. The death of "in loco parentis" opened Pandora's box. Many college students need not only "in loco" parentis, but they need good parenting period, if they missed it earlier in life. As for race and athletes and "thugs" and all that - haven't any of you read the history of Peyton Manning as a college student? His story has gotten whitewashed, no pun, but is being reported pretty widely of late. I know nothing about Jaylon Tate, other than his membership on the basketball team, but it could be that these accusations, along with those against other players, could indicate a need for much better attention to what is given plenty of lip service: the training of young men and women beyond their athletic ability.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on March 12, 2016 at 7:03 pm
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"Do any of you honestly think that bad behavior is attributable to any one race?"

Yes, I'm pretty certain that some comment-posters here do.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on March 12, 2016 at 9:03 pm
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In regards to the headline here, I think that "assaulting" would be a more professional choice of words than "slugging," but that's just me.

JoeCOOL wrote on March 14, 2016 at 9:03 am
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Comment on Lovie bring CHI players ....... Folks had no problem with all that CHI Talent coming down for those Big Ten titles or bowl years.......let's not forget the Flyin' ILLINI or 2004-05 Teams were all or mainly CHI area talent.      

Objective Reporter wrote on March 18, 2016 at 9:03 am

Grumpy - Judging by your comments, it appears that thugs = black kids.  Are we understanding you correctly?