Paul was in court on Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to underage drinking. The charge of resisting police was dropped, State's Attorney Julia Rietz confirmed to WCIA 3. Paul was sentenced to one year of court supervision, fined $325, ordered to perform 25 hours of community service, and get a substance abuse evaluation. In a statement released Tuesday, head coach John Groce eluded to "multiple transgressions" that led to Paul being banned from all team-related activities, including practice, for the upcoming season.
Darius Paul released the following statement:
"I accept responsibility for my mistakes. Looking back on that night, I needed to be home. I needed to be doing what my dad and mom always told me to do - behave myself and take care of business the right way. I want to apologize. I regret my conduct. I am sorry for putting myself and my family in this situation. I appreciate the jobs the police officers have to do. I have watched my dad as I have grown up. I remember when I was younger that he would have to work nights and was worried about him then.
"This incident shows that I overreacted to the police and to the things that happen on the street. Being out drinking with friends seems like fun, but look where I am now. I can only hope others can see how the choices we make as students can affect our lives. To my Illini basketball teammates, I realize I have let you down also. I am going to learn from this and 'take care of my personal business' as my mom and dad want me to do, and as I know I must do. I want to play basketball here at Illinois."
Paul's father, Cliff, who is a career police officer also issued a statement:
"These have been difficult and disheartening times for our family. Linda and I have raised our children to be respectful and personally responsible. As all parents would be, we were disappointed when we learned that our son used poor judgment. In the end it has brought us here. It would come as no surprise that we have told our children that being our in the late hours of the day, not taking care for yourself and consuming alcohol as well, can only get you in trouble.
"As a career police officer, it is always troubling to me if someone shows disrespect to the police in any way. I have talked with our son about the choices he made that night and what police officers might think when put in the position the officers on the street that night were put. I do want to think Chief Christiansen, Lt. Frost and other U of I police officers for meeting with us to answer our questions and address the natural concerns that parents would have under the facts of this case.
"Ultimately for Linda and me, our concern is for our son. We want Darius to learn from all of his life's experiences and we want him to grow as a person, and to be a better person as a result of those experiences - even if they are mistakes that he made. We can see from the underage drinking charge that Darius must address issues that many students must address about consumption of alcohol. As a family we will continue to support him and help him address those issues.
"We have a longstanding relationship with the University of Illinois and the basketball family here. We appreciate Coach Groce's need to be vigilant not only for Darius but for everyone on the basketball team. Our sons have had good educational and sports opportunities here. It is our hope that Darius will return and complete his college career here. We will do all that is possible for that to happen. Thank you."
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