Thursday, May 29, 2003

Hicks could return to Bearcats

UC freshman indicted on misdemeanor, not felony

By Sharon Turco
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The door has opened for Eric Hicks to return to the University of Cincinnati basketball team.The freshman forward from Greensboro, N.C., was indicted Wednesday, accused of throwing a beer bottle at a woman, who suffered a gash to her head that required stitches.

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted Hicks, 19, on a charge of assault, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail.

Hicks was originally arrested on a similar charge that was filed as a felony, which resulted in his being suspended indefinitely from the basketball team for conduct detrimental to the program.

UC athletic director Bob Goin said the misdemeanor charge "gives Eric some breathing room."

"I would like to see the report," Goin said. "I haven't talked to (coach) Bobby (Huggins) about it. I need to do that, which I will. You can be assured that if reinstatement's there, it's going to come with terms. It'll be on a short leash. The best case if he does come back, he'll be permitted no other slippage.

"I'm not saying that's done yet (that he will be allowed back). But the minimum would be probation and a conduct contract (which he would have to sign)."

Hicks, who was released on his own recognizance May 20 after spending one night in jail, declined to comment Wednesday.

During a bond hearing after Hicks' arrest May 19, his attorney, Theodore Froncek Jr. accused the woman, Alicia Simmons, of self-interest.

He said Simmons called UC assistant coach Andy Kennedy and asked for money in lieu of filing criminal charges stemming from the injuries she received May 17 at Vertigo, at 1 W. Corry St. near UC.

Kennedy said he could not comment on the situation.

Simmons has not been charged with a crime and Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said that information regarding Simmons and Kennedy has not been given to his office. Simmons could not be reached for comment.

During the first court hearing, according to the transcript, Froncek said the woman hit Hicks with the beer bottle first, causing a gash to his head.


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