CHAMPAIGN, Illinois — Josh Whitman has taken a firm stand on domestic violence and Kendrick Nunn has been dismissed from the University of Illinois basketball team because of it.
Nunn was booted off the team Tuesday, six days after pleading guilty to a single charge of misdemeanor battery for an incident in March. During testimony, Nunn admitted he hit a woman in the head, pushed her to the ground and poured water on her after an argument at her apartment.
He can have the conviction removed from his record if he meets a series of court-mandated conditions, but he has no path to return to the Illini team for his senior season.
Whitman, the Illini athletic director, made that clear in a joint statement he released along with head basketball coach John Groce.
“We have not reached this decision easily,” Whitman said. “We care deeply about Kendrick and want him to be successful.
“But after extensive deliberation we think it’s best for our program to reaffirm our core values of trust and respect, to send a strong message about what is acceptable behavior for our student-athletes at the University of Illinois, and to part ways with Kendrick.
“As it is on college campuses across the country, relationship violence is of significant concern at our University and we expect Fighting Illini student-athletes to be leaders in promoting healthy, respectful, caring relationships. We wish Kendrick all the best as he pursues the next chapter in his life.”
Nunn is one of three Illini basketball players who were arrested since February and accused of violent crimes.
Leron Black pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault when he waved a knife and made threats at a security guard at an Urbana night club. He has been reinstated to the team but will be suspended for the first six games of the season.
A domestic battery charge against Jaylon Tate was dismissed when the Champaign County State’s Attorney said there was not enough evidence to pursue the matter. Tate has been fully reinstated to the team.
Nunn, who would have been a senior, was No. 2 on the Illini in scoring (15.5 points per game) and rebounding (5.0).
His dismissal means Illinois has one open scholarship for the 2016-17 season.