Freshman basketball player Royce White said he plans to withdraw from the University of Minnesota this week after a Monday court hearing failed to bring a resolution to his legal issues.
White’s attorney, F. Clayton Tyler, said they’d hoped the case would be resolved at Monday’s arraignment, but negotiations with prosecutors were unable to produce a resolution “amenable to both sides.” A pretrial has been scheduled for Feb. 9, after which Tyler expects the case to go to trial.
Tyler told reporters outside of a downtown Minneapolis courtroom that they plan to contest the three misdemeanor trespassing charges White faces as the result of an investigation into the Nov. 7 theft of a laptop from a Territorial Hall dorm room.
White, who said he was “disappointed in how it turned out today,” said that since the case is going to trial he probably wouldn’t be allowed to play and that he doesn’t want to risk another negative on-campus incident.
“It’s all about perception. Anything can happen a certain way, and I don’t want the perception to be that I’ve done anything wrong if I really haven’t. I just don’t want to risk that, so it’s best for me to just go home,” White said.
White hasn’t played this season after being suspended indefinitely Nov. 3 following an Oct. 13 incident at the Mall of America. White later pleaded guilty to charges of theft and disorderly conduct in connection with the case.
This isn’t the first time White has announced his departure from the team. White said in a YouTube video posted Dec. 17 that he intended to leave college basketball. In that video, White left open the possibility of his return. “It would take something big for me to go against the decision to leave college basketball,” White said in the video. “As of right now, I’m leaving college basketball.”
But White never filed the necessary paperwork to leave the team, and he began practicing in January.
On Monday, White said he “definitely” plans to leave the school and that nothing will change his mind.
White said he will not transfer to another university, and any future plans, including playing in Europe, have yet to be decided.
A spokesman for the University’s athletics department said there would be no official comment until White takes the necessary steps to file for withdrawal from the University.
According to the criminal complaint filed by the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, White was in Territorial Hall the night of the laptop theft and entered multiple rooms uninvited. One witness told University police that White came into her room and said, “Hey, I’m Royce. Do you know who I am?”
The witness said White left her room after she asked him to leave. Other witnesses told police similar stories.
The complaint stated that White told investigators he goes to the dormitory to meet new people.
“People walk into dorm rooms, as they allege, all the time and talk to people. They’ve charged it as trespass,” Tyler said. “I think the charge is a little overstated.”
White, who has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, spoke critically of University police Monday.
“I feel like they dealt with the situation irresponsibly,” White said.
White also said he doesn’t feel safe on campus “because I really don’t feel like the police have to answer to anybody, so it makes me wonder what they’ll be allowed to do.”
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