BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Florida Atlantic has reinstated wide receiver Kalib Woods to the football team, even though he still faces felony battery charges stemming from a fight in January.
Owls coach Lane Kiffin says Woods will not be on scholarship.
Woods is accused of striking two men in January, in what was described by one of the alleged victims as retaliation over a foul that was committed in a pickup basketball game about a year earlier. One of the victims said he needed surgery to reconstruct a broken jaw, the other said he was hospitalized for several days with internal injuries.
Kiffin said FAU officials decided to readmit Woods last month, around the start of the academic year. Kiffin announced Woods’ return to the team on Monday.
“In order to play, he had to pay for school and come back on the team as a walk-on,” Kiffin said. “He has agreed to do that.”
Woods wasn’t arrested until June, and has pleaded not guilty to the two felony battery charges. Another hearing on his case is scheduled for next month, and it’s unknown when a trial would start.
Woods has received letters of reference in recent months — all attesting to his level of character — from a diverse group that includes members of the Florida Legislature, an Assistant State Attorney in the Jacksonville area, clergy and even Bethune-Cookman coach Terry Sims, whose team plays FAU later this month. Woods is also trying to get the charges dropped.
“He turned a bad situation into a teachable moment,” wrote state Rep. Bobby B. DuBose of Fort Lauderdale.
Woods caught 68 passes for 934 yards at FAU last season. For his career, he has 111 catches for 1,487 yards and six touchdowns.
Kiffin said he is prohibited from discussing Woods’ legal status and how the team will handle his situation. He also didn’t reveal a timeframe for Woods’ return to game action.
“I haven’t seen enough to know where he’s at really with that,” Kiffin said. “So we will figure that out.”
FAU (0-1) plays at No. 9 Wisconsin on Saturday.