UK football players appear for court hearing, case waived


Kentucky football players Earnest Sanders IV, JuTahn McClain, and Joel Williams (left to right) leave the Fayette County District Courthouse after their preliminary hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Six Kentucky football players who were charged with first-degree burglary all waived their right to a preliminary hearing in Fayette County District Court on Wednesday morning.  

The case against R.J Adams, JuTahn McClain, Andru Phillips, Earnest Sanders IV, Vito Tisdale and Joel Williams will now move to a grand jury. 

The preliminary hearing was not used, as Fayette County District Judge T. Bruce Bell dismissed the six players from the courtroom.  

According to the initial report, an incident that took place at a Lexington residence on March 6 saw three individuals enter a private party uninvited. Once asked to leave, the subjects threatened to return.  

Later that night, they would return with other individuals, forcing their way into the residence. Court documents obtained by the Associated Press claim that a “physical altercation” took place, leaving multiple people injured.  

Tisdale was also charged with first-degree wanton endangerment, as the report alleges that the subject pointed a firearm at a victim. In July, the sophomore was also charged in Bowling Green with possession of marijuana after being pulled over, according to WDRB’s Jason Riley. He pleaded guilty on July 28 and was probated a 45-day jail sentence.  

All six players pleaded not guilty at arraignment on Friday, Aug. 20. Judge Joseph T. Bouvier ordered the players to stay away from the victims and the location of the incident. 

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops spoke publicly on the matter on Saturday, informing the media that all six players are not currently with the team and is “unsure” when they will return.  

“We don’t have all that information in there. Attorneys don’t have all that information yet. When they receive that info, and we get the discovery rules, we’ll make decisions from there,” Stoops said. “They deserve an opportunity to defend themselves, you know, so we’ll let that process play out.” 

Prosecutors will now establish a case in which they will attempt to convince 75 percent of the jury, resulting in an indictment being handed down and moving the case to a trial. If the prosecution is not able to convince the jury, the case will be dismissed. Prosecutors have up to 60 days to create their case. A court date is yet to be established.