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Former Baylor football player settles damaged apartment dispute, others could face suit

Former Baylor football player settles damaged apartment dispute, others could face suit

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Former Baylor University football standout Bravvion Roy has had a busy week.

On Sunday, the 330-pound defensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers, in his NFL debut, made a solo tackle and was in on another stop in a 34-30 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

On Monday, Roy, a 23-year-old sixth-round draft pick after an All-Big 12 career at Baylor, cut a check for $5,000 to resolve a lawsuit filed against him, another former Baylor player and a current player over damages to the Waco apartment they leased last year from a judge in Hill County.

While the judge agreed to dismiss the lawsuit after Roy’s settlement check, Baylor athletics officials somehow got the impression that all issues between 66th State District Judge Lee Harris and all past and former Baylor players had been resolved.

No so, the judge said Friday. Another apartment owned by the judge and leased by three current Baylor players, John Lovett, Trestan Ebner and Abram Smith, also was trashed, and the three broke their lease owing the Judge about $11,500 in back rent, the judge said.

Harris said Friday he intends to send a demand letter next week to the three current Baylor players and give them at least 30 days to resolve the issue or he will file a justice court lawsuit against them, too.

“If the folks at Baylor are saying everything is fine, I think there must be a mistake involved because I have not said at all that everything is fine,” Harris said. “I made it quite clear in a phone conversation with them that I will be pursuing my avenues. The reason I have an attorney involved is to make sure we comply with all fair debt collection practices, but we certainly are going to be reasonable in trying to resolve it.”

After some clarification Friday from the judge, Baylor Athletic Department officials released a statement in which they said they have encouraged the players to settle the issue while declining to say if any of the current players were disciplined in relation to the judge’s reports of damage to the apartments and broken lease contracts.

“As stated previously, Baylor Athletics is unable to intervene, but we have encouraged these student-athletes to resolve this situation. As a civil matter, any potential discipline will be handled internally,” according to the statement.

Timothy Younger, Roy’s attorney and agent from Rancho Cucamonga, California, said Roy was eager to put the matter behind him because it “caused quite a stir for him with the (Panther) organization.”

“Regarding the matter of the tenancy, all outstanding issues are resolved to the satisfaction of everyone concerned,” Younger said in a statement. “Mr. Roy learned of the dispute through the (Sept. 11 Tribune-Herald) article and had been unaware of any open items with the lessor.

“He effectively had moved out of the property in January 2020 in order to prepare for the NFL draft, and ensured that his rent had been fully paid. However, upon being apprised of the situation through the article, he, with his roommates, promptly addressed the matter and wishes Judge Harris the very best moving forward.”

Harris said he has not spoken with Roy or his former roommates, Deonte Williams, who transferred to Florida State University, and T.J. Franklin, a defensive end on this year’s team.

Harris said he spent about $10,000 to clean and repair the two apartments on South 15th Street after the Baylor players moved out in May. He said he found both apartments “trashed out,” with damage to doors, locks, window treatments and more, along with carpets saturated and walls stained with animal waste and a stench the judge said was intolerable.

The players paid pet deposits, but Harris said he could not believe what he found after the players moved out. He said dogs destroyed the carpet and the smell of urine on walls and feces and urine on the carpets forced the judge to replace the flooring and coat all the walls with Kilz primer and repaint them. The smell was so bad that an employee of the property management company could not go inside, he said.

The judge filled 10 contractor trash bags that fit 55-gallon drums with trash, including dozens of liquor bottles, and other items left behind, including Smith’s Baylor playbook. He said the door to the apartment Ebner, Lovett and Smith shared was kicked in and had to be replaced, adding that the players never returned their keys to the apartment or the remotes for the gate opener.

Ebner’s car, which the judge said is reported to be inoperable, is still parked in front of the eight-unit apartment complex, he said.

By early in the second half, Ebner had already had a standout performance in Baylor’s game Saturday against the University of Kansas. He ran the second-half kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown after picking up two touchdowns in the first half.

Baylor officials have said they will not disclose specifics of scholarship arrangements for student-athletes. However, they said scholarship athletes are given monthly checks as stipends for room and board. Freshmen athletes, like all Baylor freshmen, are required to live on campus. After that, athletes are free to live off-campus and enter into lease agreements for housing on their own, the officials said.

If student-athletes find living arrangements for less than the monthly stipend, they are free to pocket the remaining money, officials said.

After the Tribune-Herald story earlier this month, the judge, a Baylor Law School graduate and adjunct Baylor law professor, said he got an email from Baylor Athletics Director Mack Rhoades and phone calls from first-year Baylor coach Dave Aranda.

Aranda later arranged for Lovett and Ebner to speak by phone with the judge. Earlier this season, Aranda, continuing a tradition started by former coach Matt Rhule, awarded single-digit uniform numbers to Lovett and Ebner to reward them for their character, leadership abilities and work ethic. Rhule, now head coach for the Carolina Panthers, is coaching Roy again.

“They didn’t have much to say,” Harris said of Lovett and Ebner. “They were apologetic, but didn’t have much to say. Coach Aranda thanked me for taking the phone call and told me it had been a learning experience for everybody involved.”

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