LINCOLN — Nebraska running back Maurice Washington appeared in the Huskers’ first spring practice, but he’ll be a “limited participant” because of ongoing legal issues stemming from criminal charges he faces in California for allegedly sending a sexually explicit video to a girl in the video.
NU coach Scott Frost said Washington will be at practice — but perhaps not all of them — as the sophomore works through the legal situation in front of him. Washington’s lawyer, John Ball, has said Washington will return to California at some point to face the charges. As of Tuesday, no hearing date had been set in Santa Clara County Court.
“We’re trying to keep him in as normal of a routine as a student-athlete as we can,” Frost said at his spring opening press conference. “In the meantime, anytime anyone behaves in a way that isn’t consistent with the values of our team or our university, they run the risk of losing playing time or putting their status with the team in jeopardy. But, to me, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the situation before that decision’s made.”
Frost said any final decision about Washington’s status with the team will be made by himself and university administrators.
Running backs coach Ryan Held, Washington’s position coach, said he’s not involved in any decisions and has stayed out of discussions that are above “my pay grade.”
“I’m going to coach the guys who are in the room and out there for practice, whether it’s an injury or circumstances out of my control,” Held said. When Washington isn’t in practice, sophomore Jaylin Bradley, senior Wyatt Mazour and walk-ons Brody Belt and Austin Hemphill are the primary running backs. Receivers Wan’Dale Robinson and Miles Jones also played running back in high school.
Washington was NU’s No. 2 rusher in the fall behind starter Devine Ozigbo. Frost said he had limited knowledge of Washington’s situation during the season, and said it was “completely not true” that NU coaches or administrators may have looked the other way so Washington could play in the games. Washington’s first lawyer, former Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, has told The World-Herald that he informed neither Frost nor any other Husker staffer about the nature of the case. NU’s athletic department learned about the full nature of the case Feb. 8, when it was contacted by an NBC affiliate in the Bay Area for comment on the story.
“I knew the little bit that was told to me in the fall, and that was that he was wanted for questioning,” Frost said. “I knew very little beyond that. I don’t really think it’s my place to do investigations. In fact, I think that’s where a lot of people get themselves in trouble. This will run its course and justice will be served.”
As far as Frost knows, Washington’s legal process is “moving along.” The coach wants clarity soon.
“I’m troubled anytime anyone involved with our team conducts himself in a way that sheds negative light on our team or our university,” Frost said. “We take that seriously.”
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Nebraska's former head football coach Tom Osborne looks on from the sideline before the Colorado game.
Shelley Malone and Jayme Malone, of Lincoln, who have been married for 42 years walk through a shaft of light in the concourse of Memorial Stadium prior to the Troy game.
Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo (22) carries the ball upfield against Northwestern during the fourth quarter.
Northwestern's Flynn Nagel (2) bobbles the ball that was ultimately intercepted by Nebraska's Tre Neal (14) during the fourth quarter.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr gives a peace symbol after scoring a touchdown against Illinois.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez jumps in the air after a win over Michigan State.
Nebraska's Maurice Washington is lifted into the air after scoring a touchdown against Iowa.
The golden feathers atop the Minnesota band hats glow before the game against Nebraska.
Nebraska's Dicaprio Bootle, left, and Cam Taylor celebrates beating Michigan State 9-6.
Antonio Reed, right, forces Michigan State's Rocky Lombardi to fumble the ball in the fourth quarter.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez scores a fourth quarter touchdown against Iowa.
Iowa's Jake Gervase can't stop Nebraska's Jack Stoll from scoring a first quarter touchdown.
Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo celebrates a first quarter touchdown against Minnesota.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. reaches for a punt midway through the third quarter against Michigan State.
Nebraska's Matt Jarzynka hugs his mother Susan, as she and his father Mike Jarzynka participate in senior day ceremonies.
Nebraska's Jerald Foster lifts up place kicker Barret Pickering after a field goal against Michigan State.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. catches a pass against Michigan State at the 12-minute mark in the fourth quarter.
Nebraska's Barret Pickering, center, celebrates hitting a fourth quarter field goal with teammates Tanner Farmer, left, and Kurt Rafdal, right.
Nebraska's Jack Stoll (86) is hit and flanked by Purdue's Tario Fuller (25) and Dedrick Mackey (1) on a kick return during the second quarter.
Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo runs against Bethune-Cookman.
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost congratulates Mick Stoltenberg on his pass interception late in the fourth quarter against Illinois.
Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo runs for a fourth quarter touchdown as Illinois' Jartavius Martin chases him.
A stiff wind blows the beard of Lyle Bridgmon, of Falls City, Nebraska around, as he waits for the start of the Nebraska and Michigan State game outside of Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo gets tackled by Michigan State's Andrew Dowell, No.5, and Kenny Willekes, No. 48, on the first drive of the game.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. (8) fails to make a catch while guarded by Colorado's Evan Worthington (6) and Delrick Abrams (1) during the third quarter.
Nebraska Head Coach Scott Frost waves to the crowd as he leaves the field after defeating Bethune-Cookman 45-9.
Nebraska's Noah Vedral sits in the end zone after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Bethune-Cookman.
Bethune-Cookman's David Israel throws a pass in the third quarter against Nebraska.
Nebraska's Noah Vedral dives for a touchdown against Bethune-Cookman.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez throws a pass in the second quarter against Minnesota.
Fans can get a detailed view of Nebraska's Memorial Stadium via a custom tour arranged through the athletic department.
Nebraska's Aaron Williams celebrates making a 4th down stop in the second quarter against Minnesota.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. pokes Nebraska head coach Scott Frost while he is being interviewed after the Minnesota game.
Nebraska's JD Spielman walks into the end zone for a second quarter touchdown against Minnesota.
Nebraska's Noah Vedral throws a pass in the third quarter against Bethune-Cookman.
Purdue's D.J. Knox (1) leaps over Nebraska's Lamar Jackson (21) bringing the ball to the 1-yard-line during the second quarter.
Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander runs the stairs at Michigan Stadium before the start of the game.
Husker fans Ian Froemming, center, and Chris Miller, right, both of Omaha, aren't impressed as Michigan scores a first quarter touchdown.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez is sacked by Michigan defenders Devin Bush (10), Michael Dwumfour (50) and Devin Gil (36) in the second quarter.
Purdue's Kenneth Major breaks up a fourth quarter pass intended for Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr.
Fans walk around campus before the start of the Nebraska and Minnesota.
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost leads the Huskers on the field for the first time as coach before the Akron game that was rained out.
Christa Rahl cheers as she and the rest of the student section wait out the weather delay against Akron.
Morgan Peatrowsky of West Point, Nebraska, stands in the rain as the crowd is cleared from the bleachers because of lightning before the Akron game that was rained out.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. falls into the fans seating while going for a fourth quarter pass against Colorado.
Nebraska's Dicaprio Bootle breaks up a pass intended for Colorado's K.D. Nixon in the third quarter.
Nebraska's quarterbacks coach, Mario Verduzco, removes a unlit cigar from his mouth as he and the Huskers arrive at Memorial Stadium for the Unity Walk prior to the Akron game that was rained out.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. (8) attempts to leap over Ohio State's Damon Arnette (3) during the first quarter.
Nebraska's head football coach Scott Frost exits the field after the 36-31 loss to Ohio State.
Nebraska's senior Jerald Foster (67) is embraced by head coach Scott Frost during a senior ceremony prior to the Michigan State game.
Nebraska's Jaevon McQuitty (4), Tanner Farmer (63) and Jordan Ober (84) participate in the tunnel walk before the game against Michigan State.
Nebraska's head coach Scott Frost hoists a football in the air after defeating Michigan State 9-6.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez enters Ohio Stadium prior to the Ohio State game.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez (2) celebrates his touchdown with teammates Kurt Rafdal (82) and Brenden Jaimes (76) against Ohio State during the second quarter.
Nebraska's head football coach Scott Frost walks off the bus as he arrives at Memorial Stadium for the Unity Walk prior to the game against Akron that was rained out.
Nebraska's Austin Allen takes the field with fellow Huskers prior to kickoff against Northwestern.
Nebraska's head coach Scott Frost burries his face in his hands after visiting an injured Luke Gifford during the fourth quarter against Northwestern.
Cheese head, Brett Peterson, of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and corn head Casey Conner, of Athens, Wisconsin, look on during the Wisconsin game.