MADISON — If Quintez Cephus is allowed back into Wisconsin, he would be welcomed back to the football team.
The former Badgers wide receiver filed a petition to be reinstated to the school on Tuesday after being found not guilty on two charges of sexual assault last Friday. The decision on whether to grant that petition is up to UW chancellor Rebecca Blank. Cephus’ lawyers asked for her decision by Thursday.
Cephus was expelled from school in April after a Title IX investigation found him in violation of the non-academic misconduct code. The exact violation was never made public and the 21-year-old was largely unable to participate in that investigation due to its potential impact on his criminal trial.
If Blank does allow Cephus back into school, and some other aspects are worked through, coach Paul Chryst said they are open to having him return to the team — if it’s what Cephus wants.
“Yes, if it’s best for Q, and it truly is for him, then I know his teammates and I know how we feel, we would welcome him back,” Chryst said Wednesday. “We’ve talked with the guys about it. It’s not about us. It’s what’s best for him. If (coming back) is, we absolutely would.”
— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 7, 2019
While Cephus was suspended, he was allowed to continue to use the football facilities and was seen working out with former quarterback Scott Tolzien following a practice in the spring. He received a lot of support, both private and public, from current and former Badgers, which continued on Tuesday when several took to social media to campaign for his return to Wisconsin and the football field.
One of his fellow receivers, Kendric Pryor, said he was in contact with Cephus throughout the last year and reiterated Chryst’s point.
“I just want what’s best for him,” Pryor said. “I just want him to have the opportunity to be able to play football again, whether it’s here or wherever he decides to go.”
Cephus was Wisconsin’s top receiver when a broken leg sidelined him in November of 2017. He returned to form in spring of 2018 and was running with the first-team offense when the charges were filed against him last August.
Prior to that, many were calling Wisconsin’s top four receivers — Cephus, Pryor, AJ Taylor and Danny Davis — the best group in school history and they had even developed a nickname of the “Fatal Four.” Pryor said if Cephus is back, it would allow them an opportunity to showcase that.