Bond Set at $150,000 for U of I Football Players Charged With Robbery

Three football players at the University of Illinois have been charged with burglary and robbery charges in connection with an incident at a university residence hall Wednesday.

The players appeared in court on Thursday afternoon, where a judge set bond at $150,000. All three players were charged with residential burglary and aggravated robbery. 

According to the Champaign News-Gazette, Champaign County Assistant Public Defender Ramona Sullivan asked Judge Olmstead to allow the players to leave the state, and the request was denied. 

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. 

Darta L. Lee, 18, Zarrian J. Holcombe, 19, and Howard E. Watkins, 18, were the three players arrested in connection with the incident, which took place early on Wednesday morning.

Calling the incident part of a “stupid plan,” Champaign police Lt. Dave Shaffer detailed the alleged robbery in a press conference on Wednesday in the Champaign News-Gazette:

“Three individuals entered an apartment masked and the victim recognized one of them by voice. He pulled his mask off and tried to make light of the situation. One of them produced what we now know to be (a) fake firearm and demanded cash.”

According to police, the alleged assailants left with an undisclosed amount of money.

“These allegations, if true, fail to live up to the standards we expect of our student athletes,” Illinois head coach Lovie Smith said in a statement. “We continue to gather information and will take appropriate steps based upon what we learn.”

Holcombe and Lee were already serving a suspension for violating team rules, according to reports, and they will remain suspended until completion of an investigation into the incident. Watkins has also been suspended indefinitely from the team in connection with the incident. 

Contact Us