For the past 3 months, much of the college basketball world has speculated about how Lon Kruger and the UNLV administration would punish Tre’Von Willis following his arrest on a charge of domestic violence stemming from an incident where he allegedly strangled a woman on June 29th. Earlier today Willis reached a plea agreement with local law enforcement authorities where he could face the following penalties:
- Suspended 90-day jail sentence
- 100 hours of community service
- $340 fine
- 6 months of domestic violence counseling
- No contact with his accuser
- Suspended at least 3 games
While the punishment sounds serious it is unlikely that Willis will have to do much other than pay a relatively small fine, do some community service (probably show up at a few basketball clinics), and try not to break the law until the end of the season. If he does get into trouble with the law, Willis could be forced to serve the rest of the suspended 90-day sentence (assuming he has probably only spent one day in jail at the time of his arrest).
For his part Willis released the following statement, where he said:
I want to apologize to my family, the university, my coaches, my teammates and to the community of Las Vegas. I feel awful and embarrassed. I used extremely poor judgment, made a mistake and take responsibility for what happened. I will work hard to earn back the trust and support of the fans and those close to me.
Now for the part that most of you are interested: his suspension from the Rebels. In a statement to the media, Kruger said:
Tre’Von made a mistake and feels horrible about it. He let a lot of people down. With any mistake there are consequences and he is accepting responsibility for what he did. In addition to the legal-system penalties, he is also being penalized by the program to address the mistakes he made and will miss at least the first 10 percent of his senior season.
Although the media and UNLV’s official site are reporting that this means that Willis will miss at least three games if we are being technically correct (and since UNLV is an institution of higher learning they should be ok with basic math), the Rebels play 32 regular season games (counting the 2 exhibition games, which should count since they are counting it in his suspension), so Willis should miss more than three games (or at least four if Kruger isn’t trying to pull a Rex Ryan / Braylon Edwards suspension). According to UNLV’s schedule, the three games that Willis is scheduled are two exhibition games (against Grand Canyon and Washburn — yeah, we never heard of them either) and one regular season game (against UC-Riverside), all of which are at home. If UNLV is following Kruger’s statement to the letter (or number) they should also suspend Willis for their next game, which they play at home against Southeastern Louisiana. This would mean that Kruger would technically be able to bring his star guard back in time for the Rebels’ game against Wisconsin (surely a coincidence). The match-up of two potential top 25 teams would certainly be intriguing and making that the first game back for Willis would give Kruger and the Rebels a built-in excuse to lobby the NCAA Selection Committee in March to give them a break because the team would be readjusting to playing with Willis in case the Rebels lose to the Badgers at the Thomas & Mack Center. This isn’t to say that Kruger is trying to a Bobby Bowden by announcing a delayed suspension that would allow his players to play against a tough team first and then suspend them for a subsequent game against a cupcake, but it is interesting to say the least.