Kentucky football players plead not guilty to burglary charges

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Six Kentucky football players charged with first-degree burglary pleaded not guilty on Friday, with a judge scheduling a preliminary hearing for Wednesday in a case stemming from a March 6 incident at a private party.

Fayette County District Judge Joseph T. Bouvier ordered the players to stay away from the victims and the site where the incident took place.

Wildcats players Reuben Adams, JuTahn McClain, Andru Phillips, Earnest Sanders IV, Vito Tisdale and Joel Williams are charged with burglary. Tisdale also faces a charge of first-degree wanton endangerment for allegedly pointing a gun at one of the victims.

The players sat silently near the back of the courtroom as three attorneys representing them entered the pleas before leaving without comment. Braxton Crenshaw, one of the attorneys representing the players in the hearing, had no comment as he left with the players.

Coach Mark Stoops said Thursday that the program had been aware of the matter since March. Kentucky withheld the players from team activities while a student conduct review was held, and they returned to activity in June based on the outcome.

"We are evaluating the current situation as we receive more information," Stoops said.

According to Lexington police, three individuals on March 6 entered a private party uninvited at a residence and were asked to leave. They became upset and threatened to return and came back a short time later with additional individuals.

They forced their way inside and one suspect was observed pointing a firearm at a victim, police said. Court documents obtained by The Associated Press state that the players had a "physical altercation with multiple occupants of the residence" that left many of the occupants injured.

"The institution and athletics department take these matters very seriously," Kentucky's athletic department said in a statement. "We are closely evaluating this issue before determining next steps."