Shit’s gettin’ real in Nashville, where Chris Boyd entered into a plea deal that will him keep out of jail and perhaps lead to him being reinstated on the football team. However, there’s a catch.
Vanderbilt wide receiver Chris Boyd, 21, of Roswell, Ga., pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of trying to help cover up the June 23 rape of a 21-year-old Vanderbilt student in a dorm room. The plea deal allows Boyd to escape a felony conviction, any time spent in jail and a permanent mark on his record — so long as he testifies against four teammates charged with rape and stays out of trouble for a year.
It sounds like he’s ready to testify against more than just the four who’ve been charged. And that may have some significant repercussions.
The plea also opened the door to new, disturbing details about the early morning hours of June 23, when prosecutors say four of Boyd’s former teammates raped the student while she was unconscious. Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman said in court that Boyd, Vanderbilt tight end Dillon van der Wal and starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels carried the partially nude woman from a hallway where she had been dumped back into the room of one of the men prosecutors say sexually assaulted her.
Those details drew Vanderbilt University even deeper into the rape case, prompting officials there to address prosecutors’ allegations that their tight end and star quarterback not only had information about the rape, but were actually in the dorm shortly after it happened.
“As of this date, no additional players have been suspended or dismissed from the football team. Vanderbilt is monitoring the criminal process,” wrote Beth Fortune, vice chancellor for public affairs, when asked about the inclusion of van der Wal and Carta-Samuels in prosecutors’ account of the rape.
At a minimum, you’ve got to figure there are more suspensions and plea deals coming down the turnpike. If Franklin can hold things together throughout this, he’s really a helluva coach. Which is why I sort of have to laugh when I hear the media asking Saban if the Fluker matter is a distraction to his team this week. You want a distraction? This is a distraction.