Aug. 1, 2005
CBS wire reports

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Prosecutors dropped a felony aggravated assault charge against one Tennessee football player and reduced the charge against another Monday in a case stemming from a fight at a campus party last March.


Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers and linebacker Jerod Mayo, who both redshirted last season as freshmen, were charged with hitting a fellow student when several fights broke out between football players and members of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

The charge against Mayo was dismissed after a witness would not cooperate with prosecutors.

The charge against Ayers was reduced to misdemeanor assault. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge and now has nearly 12 months to pay court costs and make restitution to the victim. After that, the charge will be erased from his record. The amount of restitution has not yet been determined, but it will not be more than $3,000.

Aggravated assault is a felony, and sentences could vary from 3 to 15 years in prison.

In a statement Monday, Phillip Fulmer said that Ayers will have to sit out the first two games of the season, complete community service and anger management counseling and abide by a curfew during the fall semester.

Ayers also was suspended from summer school and placed on indefinite probation by the university, Fulmer said.

Mayo was not suspended from the team.

"I was glad to see Jerod Mayo cleared of any issues," Fulmer said.

The Associated Press News Service

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