Tags: Jaborian McKenzie | football | Alcorn | Vanderbilt

College Football Player Facing Trial in Rape Case Back in Uniform

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Sep 2014 05:42 PM

A former Vanderbilt University football player who has been indicted along with three ex-teammates on charges of aggravated rape of an unconscious woman in a campus dormitory in June 2013 is on the active roster at Alcorn State University.

Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie is listed on the official athletics website of the historically black college in Mississippi as a "redshirt sophomore" with the uniform number 11.

WSMV-TV in Nashville reports that according to the roster, he played in the team's season opener at Virginia University.

Story continues below video.



Ex-Vanderbilt players Brandon Banks, Cory Batey, Brandon Vandenburg, and McKenzie have each been indicted on five counts of rape for the June 23, 2013, incident.

The Nashville City Paper quotes police:

"The four defendants are charged with raping the unconscious victim inside Vandenburg’s room at Gillette House dormitory in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 23. The matter first came to light the next week when university officials checking the dorm’s hallway surveillance recordings regarding an unrelated situation observed concerning behavior by the defendants."

In video posted on its website, WSMV shows still photos of McKenzie in action for Alcorn State, as well as footage from "an Instagram video posted five months ago with the hashtag 'Alcorn football' of someone who appears to be McKenzie dancing at a Mississippi McDonald's. And look closely. He's wearing a Vanderbilt jersey."

After being charged in Tennessee, McKenzie transferred to Alcorn State in 2013. He was added to the football roster immediately but was later removed from the squad after the team attracted negative attention.

USA Today reported that university President M. Christopher Brown released a statement at that time, saying, "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."

Before the decision to remove McKenzie from the roster, football coach Jay Hopson, the first white coach in the historically black Southwestern Athletic Conference's history, adamantly defended him, insisting that McKenzie was innocent of the charges.

"If I ever find anything or if I can get any proof that he is guilty, he will be suspended from our football team," Hopson said, according to USA Today. "From everything I've gotten, from every resource, this kid is 100 percent innocent."

"We'll just let the process take care of itself," Hopson said. "And let the whole world figure out that this kid, from everything that I know, that this kid did absolutely nothing.

"So like I said, if somebody can tell me or show me where he did something, then I may sing a different song. But right now, from everything I know, everything that's been shown to me through numerous phone calls and talking to many people involved in this case, I can't find anything that says this kid is guilty."

One year later, the former SEC recruit is back on the team. WSMV asked the university why it had reversed course and decided to let him return. The station reports it was simply told "Alcorn State University has decided that Jaborian McKenzie, a student since 2013, will compete as a student-athlete on the 2014 Braves football team."

With the NFL receiving severe criticism over its handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, the decision is bound to raise controversy.

Rice, a star running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was originally suspended for two games by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for knocking his then-fiancee and current wife unconscious in an Atlantic City, N.J., casino hotel in February.

After graphic video of the incident was released by TMZ.com this week, the Ravens released Rice, and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.


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A former Vanderbilt University football player who has been indicted along with three ex-teammates on charges of aggravated rape of an unconscious woman in a campus dormitory in June 2013 is on the active roster at Alcorn State University.
Jaborian McKenzie, football, Alcorn, Vanderbilt
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2014-42-09
Tuesday, 09 Sep 2014 05:42 PM
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