Zook talks to media about McGee arrest
October 16, 2008
On the eve of Eddie McGee’s Thursday court date, Illinois head coach Ron Zook addressed the media for the first time since the quarterback was arrested on allegations of aggravated battery last weekend.
McGee took snaps for the second straight day since news of the arrest was made public. Following practice, Zook expressed his support for the sophomore signal caller.
“First of all, I think you guys know me well enough to know that if there was an issue with Eddie, that there would be something done. I’m going to leave it at that,” Zook said. “Eddie’s out here. As far as I’m concerned, the information I’ve gotten, I’ve been very, very comfortable with. If we get more details, you can call us then. Right now, our focus is on Indiana, Eddie’s focus is on Indiana. As I said, you know me well enough to know I’m not going to have an issue with somebody on this football team.”
Zook said that McGee is still the backup quarterback for the Indiana game and has been practicing as usual.
“We’ve got good kids, we do have good kids,” Zook said. “Sometimes they get into situations maybe that you wish they wouldn’t, but that’s life. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, but he’s a good kid. I’m not going to punish him for something that I feel very, very comfortable with.”
McGee is due to appear at the Champaign County Courthouse today at 1:30 p.m. when he will be offered the choice to participate in a diversion program offered by the State’s Attorney.
“We have reviewed the police report from the University of Illinois police department, and we will be recommending that Mr. McGee be participating in our adult diversion program,” Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said Tuesday. “If he chooses to accept that opportunity, no charges will be filed against him. He’ll have to appear in front of a panel of community volunteers who will determine what he will need to do to complete the program and generally that would include public service work.”
About 700 people participate in the adult diversion program per year, according to Rietz. The program is for first offenders and lower-level incidents, and it gives people the chance to have a clear criminal record.
McGee was arrested shortly after midnight on Sunday morning after he “allegedly grabbed a female and knocked her down” during an altercation at the African American Homecoming dance, according to Jeff Christensen, interim chief of police for the University police department.
Jim Shay, Meghan Montemurro and Wes Anderson contributed to this report.