University of Kansas

KU running back Pooka Williams signs diversion agreement, remains suspended from team

Pooka Williams rushed for 252 yards against Oklahoma on Saturday night.
Pooka Williams rushed for 252 yards against Oklahoma on Saturday night. AP

Kansas freshman running back Anthony R. “Pooka” Williams has signed a 12-month diversion agreement with the Douglas County District Attorney’s office — a step that will drop his misdemeanor domestic battery charge if he completes the program.

Williams remains suspended from the football team. As part of this week’s diversion agreement, Williams agreed to:

undergo a domestic violence offender assessment by April 30, and if no other recommendations are made by that program, go through an anger management course by Nov. 30

refrain from alcohol and drug use during the one-year diversion period

have no contact with the victim

complete 40 hours of community service by Nov. 30

pay $158 in court costs

The domestic battery charge resulted from an incident between Williams and an 18-year-old woman on Dec. 5.

KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said Friday that Williams “remains suspended from all team-related activities at this time while the university continues to evaluate the Dec. 5 incident. We continue to take this matter very seriously.”

According to an arrest affidavit filed in Douglas County District Court, a KU police officer interviewed the victim around 11:15 a.m. Dec. 6, with the woman stating “she was punched in the stomach, as well as grabbed by the throat” by Williams at Stouffer Apartments on campus the previous day. The arrest affidavit stated the woman had bruises on her arms and side and also said that she showed text messages to the officer from Williams “where he admitted to punching (her) in the arms.” Both Williams and the victim said they were involved in an intimate relationship.

Williams, as part of the diversion, had to agree to a stipulation of facts. Williams signed a statement that said he grabbed and pushed the victim around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 5 at one of her friend’s apartments.

“When I entered, I confronted (the victim) about cheating on me. I was upset and I grabbed her by the arms during the argument,” the stipulation of facts read. “The other people in the room separated me from (the victim), and I left the room. I later returned to get my keys. I grabbed (the victim) by the wrist to get her to come to the hall with me, but the other people in the room separated me from her. I was able to get (the victim) to come out to the hall with me. While out in the hall we continued to argue and I pushed (her) out of the way and left.”

Williams’ attorney, Hatem Chahine, did not respond to a call seeking comment Friday.

Previously, Williams was approved for a diversion agreement by the district attorney’s office on Jan. 9, but Chahine said in February that his client had not yet signed the paperwork because the two sides were still negotiating.

“We just haven’t been able to come to an agreement on the diversion, that’s all,” Chahine said on Feb. 13. “We submit our agreement, but unless we can come to an amicable result, that’s not something we’re going to do.”

Williams, who was the Big 12’s offensive freshman of the year and also a first-team all-Big 12 coaches selection at both running back and kick returner, rushed for 1,125 yards last season. Shortly after the December incident, KU football coach Les Miles suspended Williams from the team; he has not been practicing with the Jayhawks in spring drills but has remained on the roster.

Miles was asked about Williams’ status on March 6.

It’s an ongoing process,” Miles said, “and it’s not one we’ll mess with in any way.”

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Jesse Newell — he’s won an EPPY for best sports blog and previously has been named top beat writer in his circulation by AP’s Sports Editors — has covered KU sports since 2008. His interest in sports analytics comes from his math teacher father, who handed out rulers to Trick-or-Treaters each year.
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