KU football reinstates star RB Pooka Williams

Pooka Williams, Jr. caps off standout freshman year with Big 12 honors
Posted at 3:01 PM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 16:01:06-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Kansas announced Monday that star running back Anthony “Pooka” Williams Jr. had been reinstated to the football program.

Williams was suspended in December from all team-related activities after he was arrested and charged with domestic battery.

The Jayhawks, who hired Les Miles to replace David Beaty during the offseason, also announced that Williams will serve a one-game suspension. He’ll miss the Aug. 31 season opener versus Indiana State.

"Pooka's behavior last December was unacceptable as a member of any community, especially our university community," KU Athletic Director Jeff Long said in a statement.

Williams allegedly was involved in an altercation with an 18-year-old female during the early-morning hours on Dec. 5, 2018, at the Stouffer Place Apartments on campus.

"My behavior was unacceptable, and I'm very sorry to those who were impacted by my poor choices," Williams said in a statement from KU. "I am disappointed in myself, not just as a man, but as a student-athlete looked up to by younger kids. My suspension from football has been hard, but I have learned from it. I'm thankful I can continue with my education at KU. Looking ahead, the most important thing to me is to regain the trust and respect of my classmates, teammates, and fans. I am humbled to return to football and to prepare for the season."

Williams entered a diversion agreement in March with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.

Under terms of the agreement, Williams must complete 40 hours of community service by Nov. 30 and submit to a domestic violence assessment. He also may be required to take an anger management course.

KU also has required Williams to meet monthly with a university conduct officer, complete another 40 hours of community service, complete a sexual violence accountability course through the school’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center and will be on probation as long as he remains at the university.

Williams effectively was suspended from the Jayhawks football team for seven months.

“During that time, he has gone through an extensive legal process as well as a comprehensive university conduct process, both resulting in sanctions and penalties,” Long said. "While suspended, Pooka has done all that has been required of him by the courts, the university and Kansas Athletics, and most importantly, has accepted responsibility for his actions.”

The incident happened less than three weeks after Miles was introduced as KU’s new football coach.

"Pooka has taken responsibility for his actions and we are happy he is back with the team," Miles said in a statement. "This young man has learned much throughout this process and we will support him as he continues working through the required educational and accountability steps."

Williams, a New Orleans native, was the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2018 and also was selected to the All-Big 12 first team at running back and kick returner last fall.

He finished his freshman season with 161 carries for 1,125 yards and seven touchdowns.