Tennessee State University quarterback Demry Croft faced rape charges against him in court Wednesday, when he pleaded not guilty.
Croft, 22, is accused of raping a female student on campus in December, according to court and university documents. He was indicted on six felony counts of rape and two counts of sexual battery last month.
A TSU spokesman confirmed the accuser and a witness named in court documents were enrolled at the university as recently as this year.
Croft’s case could intensify ongoing conversations about campus sexual assault.
In recent years, separate sexual assault allegations against football players at Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville forced both campuses to reckon with how they handle allegations.
On those campuses, high-profile criminal cases spurred broad changes to campus training and reporting protocols. Students at Vanderbilt and UT became vocal advocates for further improvements and transparency.
TSU has responded to the Croft case in part by saying “the University takes seriously any allegation of sexual misconduct that may affect our campus community.”
Few details have been revealed about the allegations facing Croft. The case is being handled by TSU police, who began investigating after a rape report was made April 4.
Croft’s attorney David Raybin declined to comment on the case after entering a not guilty plea in Judge Jennifer L. Smith’s Nashville courtroom. In court, Raybin asked the judge to delay further court proceedings until he could review evidence investigators had collected.
The next court date was set for Oct. 31.
University officials confirmed Croft was suspended from the football team in light of the criminal charges against him. Cameron Rosendahl replaced Croft in the season opener and led TSU to a 26-20 win over Mississippi Valley State.