Former Kansas State wide receiver Hunter Rison pleaded guilty to one count of battery Wednesday in Riley County District Court.
Judge Grant Bannister imposed a 30-day jail sentence and immediate probation, scheduled to end Dec. 19 should Rison meet the terms of the agreement.
Bannister ordered Rison to have no contact with the victim or the victim’s family. Further, Rison is not permitted to follow the victim on any social media platform, nor use any of his personal social media accounts to deny or attempt to mitigate responsibility for his guilt in the matter.
Rison was assessed court costs of $158 and a supervision fee of $60. His plea agreement Wednesday meant Rison waived his right to a jury trial, which was slated for July 30.
Riley County Deputy Attorney Barry Disney said on or about April 15 to 16, Rison went to the victim’s apartment and struck her with an open hand. Rison pleaded guilty and did not object to what was stated.
Disney noted he had been in contact with the victim — who The Mercury isn’t identifying because of the nature of the crime — and the victim’s family earlier Wednesday, and they gave their blessing for Bannister to forge ahead with Rison’s sentencing without them being in attendance.
Rison’s defense attorney, Barry Clark, said Rison’s mother had planned to be at her son’s next hearing, but that the plea agreement came together so quickly it was impossible to make it to Manhattan in time.
“My client’s mother would tell you she’s proud of her son for taking responsibility for his action here,” Clark said, adding that part of the punishment that wasn’t written in the plea deal “cost him his ability to play football at K-State” and hindered his future in the sport, at least in the short term.
“He’s learning from the past,” Clark said.
Rison apologized to the victim and the victim’s family, Bannister, the prosecutor and “everyone else” affected by his actions. He did not go into further detail about his prior relationship, other than deeming it “toxic.”
“But it doesn’t excuse what I did,” said Rison, who arrived wearing a K-State blazer with the Powercat logo, glasses and dyed-blond hair.
Rison was arrested by the Riley County Police Department at 1:56 p.m. April 19 in the 2200 block of College Avenue. He was charged with one count of domestic battery/knowing or reckless bodily harm to family/person in dating relationship. Rison was freed after posting his $1,000 bond.
One day after the arrest, K-State head football coach Chris Klieman announced Rison’s indefinite suspension from the team. Klieman cited the reason for the suspension as a “violation of team and departmental policy,” and did not mention the arrest.
“Our program will be one that is built on hard work and integrity and doing things the right way,” Klieman said in a release. “We have extremely high expectations for our players on and off the field.”
Rison entered his name in the NCAA’s transfer portal June 18.
On June 30, Rison announced he was transferring to Fullerton College, a community college in Fullerton, California.
“I appreciate everyone that has reached out to me during this process,” Rison tweeted. “I will be attending Fullerton CC to play for the Hornets this upcoming fall semester.”
A rising third-year sophomore, Rison was expected to be a key cog in the Wildcats’ aerial attack this fall.
He joined K-State as a transfer last year after starting his college career at Michigan State. In his only season with the Spartans in 2017, Rison played in 12 games, logging 18 receptions for 223 yards. His signature performance at Michigan State came against Notre Dame, when he set career highs for receptions (four) and receiving yards (73).
The son of former first-round NFL draft pick and five-time Pro Bowl receiver Andre Rison, Hunter Rison had earned praise from Klieman after the Wildcats’ final spring practice session at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on April 13.
“He has a world of ability, and I am excited to see, just like everybody else, when we reinstall all of this stuff when we get to August, how much retention everybody has so that they just play faster,” Klieman said. “It is sometimes difficult to tell how talented a young man is if they do not know what they are doing. Now they are starting to get the understanding of our schemes, offensively and defensively. They will continue to do that themselves with practices this spring and summer, but when we get into August and we reinstall it as coaches, I will look for really quantum leaps from a lot of guys.”
As Rison moves forward, Bannister imparted some advice in his concluding comments.
“I recognize that there may be certain things that cannot be undone,” he said. “But the best way to address (this) is going forward and not repeating, in any fashion, the type of actions you’ve acknowledged here today.”