Northern Illinois linebacker Jamaal Bass appeared in Lucas County (Ohio) court today and pleaded not guilty to two charges he faces for hitting members of the University of Toledo band before the start of a game in November.
A pretrail hearing is scheduled to take place at 8:30 a.m. on April 25 according to court documents. Bass was released on his own recognizance, meaning he didn't have to post any cash to be released from custody.
According to a report from Toledo Blade staff writer Erica Blake, judge Ruth Ann Franks "ordered a monitored recognizance bond, which includes regular phone contacts, as well as drug and alcohol testing." Before ordering the bond, the judge asked what a drug test today would show.
Bass then acknowledged that marijuana would be found in his system.
"I didn't know that football players at university could smoke dope," Franks said, according to The Blade. The judge was standing in for Judge James Jensen, who was assigned the case.
Bass was taken into custody to be booked before being released on bond. If convicted, he faces up to nine years in prison.
Update: 5:25 p.m.: NIU released the following statement.
“Northern Illinois Athletics has in place a Drug Testing Policy which applies to all student-athletes," the statement read. "That policy dictates a specific course of action which NIU will now begin with football’s Jamaal Bass based on his statement today in Toledo.”
Bass faces a felony assault charge and a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from the linebacker hitting members of the Toledo band as the Huskies ran onto the field on Nov. 1 at the Glass Bowl. One of the band members Bass hit suffered a concussion.
Bass' lawyer, Jerome Phillips, declined to comment to the Daily Chronicle.
For more, pick up a copy of Friday's Daily Chronicle.