MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia suspended cornerback Daryl Worley pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault stemming from his involvement in a nightclub altercation with a woman on Sept. 14.
Prosecutors recommended a six-month jail term but did not oppose the defense’s request for a suspended sentence. The court afforded Worley unsupervised probation that extends through Aug 1, 2015.
While a no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, it carries the same legal weight as a conviction for sentencing.
Following the court’s decision, Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen announced Wednesday afternoon that he “fully reinstated Daryl Worley to our football program,” presumably clearing the way for the sophomore to play in Saturday’s game at Texas Tech.
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“As I have said many times, we have a high standard of conduct that we expect our student-athletes and our coaches to live up to and, in this instance, Daryl failed to meet those expectations. However, since arriving in Morgantown, Daryl has done many good things and many things right, on and off the field, and I am confident that he will be a better man and teammate moving forward.”
Worley, who missed West Virginia’s last two games, was arrested on an original charge of misdemeanor battery three days after the incident at the Lux nightclub in downtown Morgantown. The battery charge would have carried a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
The altercation occurred hours after West Virginia returned from defeating Maryland 40-37. Police were called to the 18-and-up nightclub after Worley allegedly grabbed a young woman by the throat and shoved her to the ground. Investigators said the bar’s surveillance video confirmed the victim’s account.
Worley’s attorney Dave Jecklin reiterated to MetroNews on Wednesday that Worley pushed the woman down in an effort to protect his girlfriend:
“Mr. Worley reacted to a perceived threat to his girlfriend. He attempted to break up what he believed to be a developing altercation between the young lady and his girlfriend before any physical contact occurred between the ladies. The young lady approached Mr. Worley from behind, which led to him turning around and reacting to a perceived threat to his girlfriend and forcibly pushed the young lady back with his hands through the crowd to the ground.”
Jecklin said the player “is sorry about how he reacted and that the entire incident occurred.”
The plea deal states Worley can have no contact with the victim.