Four Arizona Wildcats football players were arrested last week, and two did not practice Wednesday, in connection with a fight at a campus-area party.
Nickel back Jourdon Grandon, offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele, both sophomores, were charged with first-degree criminal trespassing and assault; safety Jared Tevis and guard Eric Bender-Ramsay were charged with trespassing. Former UA safety Josh Robbins was booked on assault charges and suspicion of DUI.
Ebbele and Grandon were held out of Wednesday's on-campus workout. All four arrested players practiced Monday, three days after the fight but before the news broke. UA officials were made aware of the severity of the allegations Tuesday.
First-year coach Rich Rodriguez called the arrests "a matter that we're looking into very seriously, and we're going to make sure we go through the whole process. If anything comes up, further developments, we'll let you know."
Speaking before his second practice as the Wildcats' coach, Rod-riguez vowed to be "up-front and honest, of course" about all legal issues involving his players. When pressed for details, he referred repeatedly to a statement released earlier Wednesday by athletic director Greg Byrne.
The arrests came following a pair of fights at a house party attended by about 25 people, according to Tucson Police Department reports.
Witnesses told police they saw Grandon punching both male and female partygoers shortly after midnight Friday; one witness said she saw the Wildcats' defensive back punch a woman in the face. The witness identified Grandon later, telling police "that's the guy who punched me and everybody else."
The party's host told police the 6-foot-8-inch, 310-pound Ebbele forced himself into the house and "began punching everybody he could reach," including her, the reports stated.
Both Grandon and Ebbele told police that they did not hit or push down anyone at the party, according to the reports. Ebbele said he pulled groups of people apart to try to keep them from fighting; Grandon told officers that he was just trying to leave the party.
Grandon, Tevis, Bender-Ramsay and Robbins arrived together at the party but were asked to leave because only Tevis had been invited, reports stated.
Robbins shoved the host when asked to leave, and she slapped him, according to reports. Robbins then punched her in the face and a brawl ensued between the players and partygoers, according to reports.
The players left and returned 10 minutes later with Ebbele and others, witnesses told police. The second fight spilled out into the house's driveway.
Ebbele, Tevis, Bender-Ramsay, Grandon, Robbins and another UA football player, defensive tackle Justin Washington, then drove away in Robbins' 2003 white Lincoln Navigator.
Police responding to a nearby burglary noticed the Navigator speeding away and pulled it over. Officers and a police dog named Ditka helped clear the car. All six men were questioned.
Robbins, a Canyon del Oro High School graduate and the son of former UA star Randy Robbins, was booked on suspicion of DUI and assault charges and released. Robbins played for the Wildcats the last two seasons but quit the team over the winter.
Ebbele, Grandon and Robbins are scheduled to appear in Tucson City Court on March 15. Court dates for Bender-Ramsay and Tevis have yet to be set. Washington, who is Bender-Ramsay's roommate, has not been charged.
All four arrested players figured to play significant roles this fall.
Ebbele started all 12 games at right tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2011 and entered spring drills as a first-teamer, and Bender-Ramsay - a onetime first-team All-City selection by the Los Angeles Times - figured to push starters Chris Putton and Trace Biskin for playing time. Tevis, a CDO graduate and younger brother of former Boise State linebacker Aaron Tevis, is one of the team's most accomplished special-teams tacklers and a reserve safety.
Grandon played in 11 games as a redshirt freshman, starting four. He was suspended for one game for his role in the Wildcats' Oct. 20, benches-clearing brawl against UCLA.
Last week, one day before the party turned into a melee, Rodriguez warned his players that one bad decision could haunt them for life.
Byrne, the athletic director, said in a statement that university administrators "are taking this matter seriously."
"We are cooperating fully with the Tucson Police Department, and disciplinary action will be handled accordingly," he said. "Due to federal student-privacy laws, we will have no further comment."