Illini Basketball

B1G shots statement on O’Bannon case



ROSEMONT, Ill. – While testifying last week in the O’Bannon trial in Oakland, Calif., Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany spoke to the importance of the inextricable link between academics and athletics as part of the collegiate model, and to the value of establishing a 21st century system to meet the educational needs of current and future student-athletes. During his testimony, Delany conveyed sentiments long supported by the conference and its member institutions. Today, the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten schools issue the following statement signed by the leaders of each institution:


As another NCAA season concludes with baseball and softball championships, college athletics is under fire. While football players at Northwestern fight for collective bargaining, former athletes are suing to be compensated for the use of their images.


Football and men’s basketball are at issue. Compensating the student-athletes who compete in these sports will skew the overall academic endeavor – for all students, not just those wearing a school’s colors.


The best solutions rest not with the courts, but with us – presidents of the very universities that promote and respect the values of intercollegiate competition. Writing on behalf of all presidents of the Big Ten Conference, we must address the conflicts that have led us to a moment where the conversation about college sports is about compensation rather than academics.

The tradition and spirit of intercollegiate athletics is unique to our nation. Students play as part of their overall academic experience, not for a paycheck or end-of-season bonus. Many also compete in hopes of a professional career, just as our biology majors serve internships and musical theater students perform in summer stock. These opportunities – sports, marching band, campus newspaper, and more – are facets of the larger college experience and prepare students for life. And that, in its purest form, is the mission of higher education.


The reality of intercollegiate athletics is that only a miniscule number of students go on to professional sports careers. In the sports that generate the greatest revenue and attention, football sees 13 percent of Big Ten players drafted by the NFL and basketball sees 6 percent from our conference drafted for NBA play.


For those student-athletes who are drafted, their professional careers average fewer than five years. They still have several decades and, potentially, several careers ahead of them in which to succeed. And their college experience – their overall academic experience – should be what carries them forward.


This is why we propose working within the NCAA to provide greater academic security and success for our student-athletes:


•             We must guarantee the four-year scholarships that we offer. If a student-athlete is no longer able to compete, for whatever reason, there should be zero impact on our commitment as universities to deliver an undergraduate education. We want our students to graduate.


•             If a student-athlete leaves for a pro career before graduating, the guarantee of a scholarship remains firm. Whether a professional career materializes, and regardless of its length, we will honor a student’s scholarship when his or her playing days are over. Again, we want students to graduate.


•             We must review our rules and provide improved, consistent medical insurance for student-athletes. We have an obligation to protect their health and well-being in return for the physical demands placed upon them.


•             We must do whatever it takes to ensure that student-athlete scholarships cover the full cost of a college education, as defined by the federal government. That definition is intended to cover what it actually costs to attend college.


Across the Big Ten, and in every major athletic conference, football and men’s basketball are the principal revenue sports. That money supports the men and women competing in all other sports. No one is demanding paychecks for our gymnasts or wrestlers. And yet it is those athletes – in swimming, track, lacrosse, and other so-called Olympic sports – who will suffer the most under a pay-to-play system.


The revenue creates more opportunities for more students to attend college and all that provides, and to improve the athletic experiences through improved facilities, coaching, training and support.


If universities are mandated to instead use those dollars to pay football and basketball players, it will be at the expense of all other teams. We would be forced to eliminate or reduce those programs. Paying only some athletes will create inequities that are intolerable and potentially illegal in the face of Title IX.


The amateur model is not broken, but it does require adjusting for the 21st century. Whether we pay student-athletes is not the true issue here. Rather, it is how we as universities provide a safe, rewarding and equitable environment for our student-athletes as they pursue their education.


We believe that the intercollegiate athletics experience and the educational mission are inextricably linked. Professionalizing specific sports or specific participants will bring about intended as well as likely unintended consequences in undermining the educational foundation of these programs, on Big Ten campuses and others throughout the country


Higher education provides young people with options in life to thrive in the future. For a tiny minority, that future will be a professional sports career and all of its rewards. For all graduates – athletes and non-athletes – it is the overall academic experience that is a lifetime source of compensation in the form of a well-rounded education.




Illini basketball

Darius Paul – the police report

An hour and fifteen minutes after Illini basketball spokesman Derrick Burson alerted the media (via email) that Darius Paul had been suspended for the entire 2014-15 season; University of Illinois spokesman Tom Hardy emailed me a PDF of the police report documenting Paul’s arrest (embedded below).

This report had been withheld from the May 9 response to my FOIA inquiry on the grounds that the Paul investigation was still considered open and ongoing. This morning, Paul pleaded guilty to underage consumption. His charge of resisting a peace officer was dropped. The hearing was scheduled for Friday, but Cliff Paul Sr. says the family took advantage of an open court date to avoid the “circus.”

The two most thrilling words in the Paul report are, or seem to be, red herrings. They are “cocaine” and “DMT.”  DMT is “a powerful hallucinogenic drug.” 

Paul is not charged with any drug offenses.

One officer’s official report supposes that Paul was out looking to get some DMT. Another officer’s report contradicts that supposition, saying Paul was trying to get away from a guy who was attempting to sell DMT to him.  This was the mysterious second suspect, the one who eluded police.

A third officer (not involved in the pursuit or arrest) filed a report about a plastic bag. He describes finding the bag on the spot where Paul was tackled. He describes field-testing the bag for cocaine.

The report reveals that Paul was tackled just outside his apartment building. Had he made it inside, he might have retained his athletic scholarship for the 2014-15 season. Considering the dollar value of that year’s tuition, room and board, and the potential dollar value of a successful high-major college basketball career, one begins to understand Paul’s reasons for avoiding police contact.

Paul was also slightly injured in the altercation.  Police photographed his wrists to document the extent of damage caused by handcuffing.

Despite the charge of underage consumption, Paul’s age is listed as 23. His name is given as Paul G. Darius, which is scratched out and replaced by a handwritten correction. His height is listed as “609” while his description radioed to METCAD (thus initiating the chase) was  “approximately 6’4”

The chase and arrest was initiated by officer Michelle Ortiz, whose report describes her interest beginning when she observed “a white male who appeared to be intoxicated.” University FOIA officers redacted Paul’s race, but did not obscure the description of the “white male.”

Officer Ortiz specifies the location of her attention as being “the alley south of the Illini Arcade.”  Illini Arcade is an adult novelty and media retail store.  A search for [“Illini Arcade”  + “personals”] on the front page of chambana.craigslist,org directs the user to the “casual encounters” page.

Was Ortiz specifically monitoring foot traffic around the Illini Arcade?

It’s possible that the university’s Division of Public Safety pays special attention to a meeting place for homosexual men. But unlike the old days of vice squad persecution, this attention would ostensibly be for the benefit of  Arcade clients, rather than harassment of them.

U of I police chief Jeff Christensen said there’s no particular focus on the Illini Arcade as a locus of criminal activity.

Our officers regularly patrol the entire campus district which includes the area surrounding 25 E. Springfield Avenue.  Although officers have extended jurisdiction and patrol duties beyond this area, we define the campus district as extending from University Avenue on the north to Windsor Road on the south, Race Street on the east and the railroad tracks just east of Neil Street on the west.  Officer Ortiz and Officer Age were in this area as part of their general patrol responsibilities when the behavioral observations were viewed as documented in the report.   Historically, there have been higher rates of robberies and batteries within the northwest quadrant of the campus district.

This video (originally published in Saturday’s report on Kenichi Townsend’s arrest) shows the proximity of Paul’s apartment to the South China parking lot where Ortiz was staked out.

The lot is on the west aide of the detention basin. The apartment building is on the east side. The Illini Arcade is on the north side.

That John Groce changed direction, suspending Paul before the legal process had run its course, might be the most interesting aspect of this case from the big picture perspective of Illini basketball.

Groce’s first statement, issued the same date as Paul’s arrest, says ““We need to let the legal process run its course, and then will determine appropriate disciplinary action.”

Instead, Groce revoked Paul’s scholarship and banned him from all team-related activities just three days before Paul’s hearing was scheduled, and a day before it actually took place.

Here’s the press release on Paul’s suspension.

Fighting Illini Basketball

Paul Suspended for 2014-15 Season


Champaign, Ill.­–University of Illinois head basketball coach John Groce announced today that sophomore forward Darius Paul (Gurnee, Ill.) has been suspended for the upcoming season.


“After a thorough review of Darius’ year, which includes multiple transgressions, I am suspending Darius from all team-related activities for the entire 2014-15 season,” Groce said. “As head coach, my concerns are always what is best for the University of Illinois, what is best for the men’s basketball program, and what is best for our student-athletes as people. I feel this penalty is necessary to help Darius as a person. We will continue to support him through this process.”

“Support” does not include an athletic scholarship.

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Illini basketball

Darius Paul’s arresting officers

As required by law, the University of Illinois responded to my FOIA inquiry of April 24 which requested documents & information about Darius Paul, Arsenio Carter and Kenichi Townsend.  A PDF of that report is attached at the bottom of this post.

You’ll recall from my initial Illini Report offering that Townsend was jailed just hours before Paul’s arrest, and that Carter (Townsend’s alleged accomplice in an August 2013 robbery) is about seven feet tall, and weighs about 245 lbs. Thus, my theory that on the night Paul was arrested for resisting arrest, the officers who spotted him thought he was Carter.

To give readers a better understanding of the locus in quo, I biked to the site of Darius Paul’s arrest, which is about a 5-iron from Darius Paul’s apartment.

For readers who misinterpreted anything about the South China restaurant, its parking lot, its adjacent viaduct, or the railroad tracks that run atop it; I hope this video clears things up.

University of Illinois spokesman Tom Hardy supplied a 37 page PDF file (embedded below) chronicling the investigation of Carter, and the investigation, arrest and interrogation of  Townsend. Carter’s arrest is not documented, explained Hardy, because Carter was not arrested by University of Illinois police.

Hardy identified Darius Paul’s arresting officers as Justin Age, James Scheel and Kaleb Schroeder. Officers submitting reports in the Carter/Townsend investigation and arrest were Eric Vogt and Ezzard Charles Hoskins, and Detective Cecil  “Gene” Moore.

If none of these names sounds like an Hispanic female to you, you’re right.

According to Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz “Michelle Ortiz saw him first, the other guys stopped him.” Thus, you can infer that not everyone involved in either arrest is named in these reports.

Hoskins is identified as the officer who recognized Arsenio Carter from the surveillance video which UIPD eventually posted on YouTube.  In a report submitted by Moore, Hoskins describes Carter as “willing to talk to police, but will fight if arrest is attempted.”

Remarkably, while returning from the South China parking lot this afternoon, I stumbled upon Officer Hoskins making an arrest. It occurred at the corner of Fourth & Green, in Campustown.  Hoskins and his partner were so patient and calm with the man they arrested, I actually didn’t realize I was witnessing an arrest.

From outward appearances, the police were helping the man, who was accompanied by four tweenaged children. Not until the arrestee yelled “don’t take pictures of my kids!”  did I realize an arrest was taking place. The arrestee also yelled “don’t tell him nuthin’!” Hoskins invited me to leave, so I did. I’d wanted to ask him about his pursuit of Arsenio Carter, but suddenly realized it was a bad time.

Were Darius Paul’s arresting officers aware that Arsenio Carter was willing to talk to police, but disliked being arrested?

U of I police chief Jeff Christensen’s “Crime Alert” to the public is the FOIA response’s only memo indicating a department-wide awareness of Carter.  But while officer Hoskins recognized Carter from experience prior to August 2013, the Christensen memo demonstrates a departmental directive for all officers to be on the lookout for a seven foot black man, known to roam the streets near Springfield Avenue around 3 a.m.

Kenichi Townsend didn’t squeal during his 2013 interrogation. When asked to identify  his companion in the surveillance video, he obfuscated before invoking his right to counsel. And although Townsend was in custody when police wrestled Darius Paul to the ground, Townsend is no longer listed on the Champaign County sheriff’s inmate search website.

If local law enforcement hopes to turn Townsend and Carter against one another, it currently lacks any leverage to do so. The 2013 robbery may go unpunished, despite officer Hoskins’ excellent police work.

There’s no legal relevance of the Carter and Townsend cases to the People v. Darius Paul.  Perhaps the police thought they were tackling Arsenio Carter, but that supposition doesn’t diminish Paul’s 4th Amendment rights. The question is whether walking in a parking lot within view of one’s own apartment is reasonably suspicious to give rise to a Terry stop. Details of Paul’s arrest and interrogation will not be available until the investigation is closed.

Now, here’s the PDF covering documents and reports relevant to Townsend and Carter. For some reason, the race of the  2013 victim was redacted from the report.

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Illini basketball

FOIA update, Darius Paul

In a not unexpected move, the University of Illinois FOIA office delayed its response to my Darius Paul arrest query, giving itself a (statutorily provided) extra five days to produce records. Here’s my original query: For their purposes, this query was actually two queries. Thus, the U of I FOIA people responded twice. Here’s the initial response.         Here’s the second response. The FOIA office will necessarily provide something by this coming Friday, May 9.  People v. Darius Paul resumes on May 16, at 9:30 A.M. in Courtroom E of the Champaign County Courthouse.

Illini basketball

Mistaken Identity Parade

The most important point of the following article: Darius Paul is not Arsenio Carter.

Arsenio P. Carter (sometimes Arsenio D. Carter) is a violent felon with a 2008 conviction for aggravated battery on a peace officer —  ILCS 720 5/12-4(b)(18) at the time, now recodified as 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05 in the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012.

Arsenio Carter is a 7-foot tall, 245 lb. black male. Darius Paul is a 6-foot-9 249 lb. black male.

Arsenio Carter is 26, born on February 1st, 1988. Darius Paul is 20,  born on April 8, 1994.

Arsenio Carter was walking just south of Springfield Avenue,  around 3 a.m., six blocks from Darius Paul’s apartment.

Darius Paul was walking, just south of Springfield Avenue, around 3 a.m., three blocks from Darius Paul’s apartment.

Here are Arsenio Carter and Darius Paul.On August 17th of last year, at 2:32 a.m., University of Illinois police captured surveillance video of four people, one of whom was an unusually tall black man, walking near Wright and Daniel Streets. About twelve minutes later, a man was attacked on Wright Street, just south of Springfield Avenue. It was the sixth attack in six days, three of which involved guns.

University of Illinois police published the surveillance video, and asked the public to help identify the four people. Eleven days later, police arrested Kenichi Townsend for his part in the August 17 attack, and obtained a warrant for the arrest of Arsenio Carter.

In January of this year, Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney Lindsey Clark dismissed charges against Townsend, citing lack of evidence. In March of this year, Carter was arrested on the outstanding warrant. A week later, Clark dismissed charges against Carter, again citing lack of evidence.The surveillance camera got a good look at Carter and Townsend, but evidently the victim did not. Whether he failed to pick Carter from an identity parade, or told investigators that he never saw his assailants; the State’s Attorney’s office decided not to risk a verdict of not guilty. The Champaign County Circuit Clerk lists these cases as #13CF001416 and #13CF001417.

Dismissal of charges doesn’t mean the case is closed. It means the case is closed until police and prosecutors can obtain sufficient evidence to secure a conviction. You can infer that local police and the Champaign County State’s Attorney would both be extremely pleased to secure a conviction.  And quite simply, you should want one too. Arsenio Carter batters people.  He’s bad news.

You should infer that police have not given up on finding Carter. For example, they found him on Monday night, except that he turned out to be Darius Paul.

Here’s the sequence of events that we know: On Monday, April 21st, Carter’s co-defendant Kenichi Townsend was booked into the Champaign County jail at 11:11 p.m. Within four hours, University of Illinois police tackled Darius Paul, and arrested him for resisting arrest.If you’ve seen a police procedural drama on television, you can imagine the conversation Kenichi Townsend had with local police, prior to his booking. (To inflame The White Man’s sense of outrage, I’ll project an Ebonic speaking voice on Townsend. I don’t know whether it’s accurate, but it should bring additional page hits.)

Or perhaps Townsend did help the police with their inquiries. Perhaps he did offer information on Carter’s whereabouts and activities. Within three hours of Townsend’s booking, a man fitting Carter’s description was chased and tackled by police, in a spot that’s almost exactly halfway between the sites of Carter’s previous batteries.

On April 22nd, Kenichi Townsend  was charged with battery, and Darius Paul with resisting arrest and consumption of alcohol by a minor.

Were the police officers in the Darius Paul arrest the same people who arrested, investigated or interrogated Carter and Townsend? An email to university spokesperson Robin Kaler went unanswered. A FOIA for police reports concerning the Carter and Paul arrests should yield answers by the middle of next week.   But even if the individuals were not the same, it’s a safe assumption that all University of Illinois police officers are on high alert, knowing Arsenio Carter is at large.

State’s Attorney Julia Rietz did respond to my query about Townsend and Carter, and its implications for Darius Paul. She also clarified the circumstances of Paul’s “suspicious behavior.” The blue parenthetical is mine:

Citing Illinois Supreme Court Rule 3.8(f), Rietz declined to answer my question about the racial traits of Paul’s companion, or the “vulnerable (meaning drunk)” person they were following. In my experience, Darius Paul’s closest friend on the team is Mike LaTulip. It occurs to me that Darius could have been following a white person for the simple purpose that they were friends.

U of I cops might not have a roll call like Hill Street Blues, but it beggars belief to think that they weren’t on alert for a 7-foot black male working the closing time goldmine of vulnerable students meandering drunkenly between Campustown and Downtown bars.


I spoke to one friend who happens to be black/who happens to be a cop about the Darius Paul arrest. I didn’t even bother to ask if he wanted to speak on the record, and also advised him against it. He said he’s nervous about working with certain colleagues who don’t seem aware of/to care about the 4th Amendment. He doesn’t like it that his name appears in reports that involve their arrests.

This cop, like a lot of cops, was in the military before becoming a police officer. He expressed a reverence for the constitution, and particularly the 4th Amendment, before adding that it irritates him to know that some people don’t care about the liberties he served to protect.

The good news is that my friend is not alone in the law enforcement community.

I think  U of I police acted in the best interest of the community, and with the best intentions, when they tackled Darius Paul. After all, they thought he was Arsenio Carter, and Carter is dangerous.

By contrast, the only danger Darius Paul presents to this community is that he’s too mellow.  He’s soft-spoken. He exhibits symptoms of Joe Bertrand Disease. In other words, he’s so quiet and polite that you fear he might not be a relentless rebounder.


It’s my opinion that the claim of “suspicious behavior”  falls far short of satisfying the U.S. Supreme Court’s requirement of “reasonable suspicion” or  “specific and articulable facts” first articulated in Terry v. Ohio (1968). Constitutional criminal procedure is an ongoing science. Illinois courts have proved more skeptical of police methods than the U.S. Supreme Court. For example, Illinois v. Wardlow, in which Illinois courts found flight (that is, a suspect fleeing police) not grounds for “reasonable suspicion.”

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversing the Illinois courts’ decisions, Wardlow is not dispositive.  The right to run away from cops is not definitively outlined by case law. There are plenty of cases, and the recent ones favor the runner. The fact that Darius Paul was already in transit marks an important distinction between him and Sam Wardlow. And in case law, little details matter.

As the Rietz quote suggests, the U of I Police (via Roy Acree) opened the public discussion with a vague statement. If the particulars of the UIPD’s charge sheet attain a higher level of specificity; those reports will either be time-stamped or disputed. So far, there are at least two accounts of Darius Paul’s behavior, with differing reasoning for its “suspiciousness.”

If the police reports prove sufficiently consistent (don’t seem fudged, or improved after further reflection) they may pass the credibility test. That is, a trier of fact may regard that evidence as the honest impression of the police. But that characterization of Paul’s behavior will still amount to an extraordinarily Dred Scottish view of  “articulable suspicion,”  as a matter of law: Black people … seem to be following white people …. must be up to no good … must tackle …


You see how this works? If it had been Arsenio Carter, the police would be home and dry. Of course Carter’s behavior is suspicious. He’s Arsenio Carter! But because their captive turned out to be Darius Paul, they’re all wet.

We wish Darius didn’t feel the need to run, but we know why he did. It’s hard to question his judgment, even though Darius is a middle-class kid from the suburbs, the son of a veteran police officer and a certified  financial planner. After all, if he’d eluded the cops like his friend did, we’d never know he’d been out drinking, and the police would still be looking for Arsenio Carter, as in fact they are.

The Darius Paul Incident will, I predict, disappear. Even discarding Arsenio Carter from the available facts, and without any further evidence, there is no case. The United States Constitution and the courts that adjudicate its mission continue to require a higher standard of evidence than our baser selves seem to demand.

More interesting questions are whether Kenichi Townsend’s arrest will produce a conviction, whether he’s released on a motion by The People, whether local police find a charge that sticks to Arsenio Carter, and how all the involved facts will be cleansed and proffered by people on the payroll of the state, whose job contracts are defined by a responsibility to tell you the truth.