Tuesday, March 15, 2005

KU back Randle charged, dismissed


Troubled Kansas University football player John Randle was dismissed from the team Monday, just hours after being charged in Douglas County District Court with misdemeanor battery for allegedly hitting a man outside a downtown bar early Sunday.

"We will continue to support and help John in any way we possibly can," KU coach Mark Mangino said in a statement. "We have encouraged him to continue his education at KU. If he decides to do so, we will honor his scholarship."

Judge Pro Tem Peggy Kittel set a $1,000 cash bond for Randle, who posted bond and was released from Douglas County Jail on Monday evening.

He was arrested shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday outside It's Brothers Bar & Grill, 1105 Mass.

Randle, 20, a sophomore running back during last season, allegedly struck a 21-year-old Lawrence man, an act that was witnessed by a Lawrence Police officer who was on duty in the area, said Sgt. Dan Ward, police spokesman. The officer arrested Randle without incident, Ward said.

The victim was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for injuries to his nose and cheek, Ward said.

Randle appeared in court via closed-circuit television from the jail. His Lawrence attorney, Trey Meyer, was in Kittel's courtroom. He waived a formal hearing of the charge. His request for Randle to be released on his own recognizance was rejected by Kittel when she set the bond.

Also in the courtroom was Randle's father, Larry Randle, from Wichita. Larry Randle and Meyer left the court hearing without commenting to the media.

John Randle is to appear in court again before Judge Paula Martin at 1:30 p.m. April 14. The maximum sentence for misdemeanor battery is six months in the county jail.

Sunday's arrest marks the fourth time Randle has been arrested in the last 18 months. He was arrested on Nov. 2, 2003, on suspicion of domestic battery, but never was charged due to insufficient evidence.

He was arrested two weeks later and charged with attempted theft stemming from the theft of beer from a convenience store. The third arrest came in March 2004, when he was charged with disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a driver's license.

The last two arrests led to Randle's being sentenced to two days in Douglas County Jail last April.

Randle, one of the most ballyhooed recruits of the Mangino era, joined the Jayhawks in 2003 after a standout career at Wichita Southeast. He played two seasons for KU, amassing 1,043 yards on 235 carries with eight rushing touchdowns in his career. He split time in the backfield with Clark Green as a freshman, than received a bulk of the carries in 2004 when he wasn't injured. A lingering ankle injury hampered the end of his 2004 season, and a torn muscle sidelined him for the final game against Missouri.

With Randle out of the picture, Green, a senior-to-be, likely will be the starting running back in 2005, with freshman Gary Green expected to get carries, as well. Clark Green has rushed for 2,090 yards in his career and was an honorable mention All-Big 12 Conference selection in 2003 after rushing for 968 yards and six touchdowns.

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