Rich Rodriguez has his first crisis at Arizona.
Four Arizona football players, including starting offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele, were arrested early Friday morning after a fight at a house party. Also arrested were sophomore cornerback Jourdon Grandon, sophomore offensive lineman Eric Bender and sophomore safety Jared Tevis.
Ebbele, Grandon and Bender were arrested on charges of criminal trespassing in the first degree and assault. Tevis was arrested on trespassing charges.
The story was first reported by the Arizona Daily Wildcat, and the details it provides are, well, pretty darn horrifying.
According to police records, residents asked Tevis and the other players to leave because they were not invited. One of the men responded by shoving one of the women backwards. The man was later identified as former safety Joshua Robbins. After being shoved, the resident slapped Robbins, who then proceeded to punch her in the face — starting a brawl between the football players and members of the party.
The players left after the brawl, but before leaving said, “We will be back with our homies.” A short time later, the players returned “in a group of between 10 and 30,” and a man later identified as sophomore offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele forcibly entered the home and “began punching everybody he could reach,” according to the report, including the resident who was initially assaulted and her brother.
People at the party told officers the UA players entered the home and began assaulting male members of the party while several women attempted to stop another fight from happening. One woman was pushed up against the wall by Robbins. Robbins continued to push other female guests and residents.
Members of the party identified Grandon after he “punched a female guest in her face with a closed fist and began punching other females in the face.” Tevis was also present during the altercation but none of the victims observed him assaulting anyone.
Athletic director Greg Byrne released a statement, and a school spokesman said Rodriguez would have no further comment at this time.
"We are taking this matter seriously," Byrne said. "We are cooperating fully with the Tucson Police Department, and disciplinary action will be handled accordingly. Due to federal student-privacy laws, we will have no further comment."
Keep in mind this is just one side of the story. There are no reports of injuries, so it's unclear how far this went as a "brawl." Still, it's hard not to cringe. No matter the conflicting details that are sure to come out, this is without question a case of poor judgment. Salient point: The players returned to the house looking to settle a score. They could have walked away but they opted to escalate the situation.
Hard to believe that, at the very least, some suspensions won't soon be coming. Based on the details above , it wouldn't be surprising if one or more players get dismissed.
Losing Ebbele and/or Grandon would be a big blow. Ebbele, a 6-foot-8, 310 pounds, has NFL potential after starting as a freshman. Grandon almost certainly would have been in the mix to win a job in the Wildcats' new 3-3-5 defense.
A bad show all around, and certainly not the headline Rodriguez was hoping for on the week that his first spring practices in Tucson began.