KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Tennessee football player could face several different consequences if convicted of domestic assault.
University of Tennessee officials announced on Monday that sophomore cornerback Bryce Thompson has been suspended indefinitely from the team following his arrest for domestic assault over the weekend.
The football player will most likely face two courts and investigations: criminal and student conduct.
Greg Isaacs, a legal analyst for WATE 6 On Your Side, said defense attorneys often have to factor in that their client could be in separate hearings at the university, possibly facing suspension or expulsion.
He said that wouldn’t be the only hurdle Thompson and the victim could encounter.
Because Thompson is a football player at UT, the public will pay close attention.
“Everyone tries to go out of their way, whether you’re the defense lawyer or prosecution, not to have the client or victim treated differently, but that’s the reality,” Isaacs said.
Isaacs also said that domestic violence cases are tough in general because emotions between the victim and defendant are involved.
Defense attorneys will want to scrutinize the entire incident; the people involved, what was said, if alcohol was part of the equation, etc.
Isaacs said though, that the victim in domestic violence cases play a huge role in how the proceedings evolve.
“One thing they do take into consideration is the pulse of the victim. Does she want to resolve this case? Does she want the defendant to be severely punished,” Isaacs questioned.
Thompson was charged with a misdemeanor count of domestic abuse.
Isaacs said that the charges could’ve escalated quickly if Thompson made physical contact with the victim.
Because it’s a misdemeanor, Isaacs said the penalties are much less severe than a felony.
He said similar cases typically result in probation, anger management or a fine.
The university releasing a statement on the incident Monday:
The safety of our students and campus community is our first priority. We have staff and procedures through the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards dedicated to investigating incidents, and making sure students and campus community members are protected. We are following that protocol. Federal law prohibits us from commenting on the conduct of any individual student.Tyra Haag, Director of News & Information in the Office of Communications, University of Tennessee , Knoxville
According to the University’s student code of conduct, Thompson could face an investigation by his peers.
The investigation would work similarly to a criminal investigation, and members of the student conduct board, which may include students, staff and faculty.
Due to the fact that Thompson’s charge was domestic assault, the Title IX office could lead the process.
Thompson could face separate penalties through the university, ranging from academic probation to expulsion.
Thompson has not been convicted, and remains innocent until proven guilty.