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NIU's Bass faces assault charges

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 7:19 p.m. CDT
(Rob Winner file photo –
Northern Illinois linebacker Jamaal Bass (6) tackles Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton on Dec. 2 during the Mid-American Conference championship game in Detroit, Mich. Bass was charged Friday in an incident for running into band members exiting the field.

Northern Illinois University linebacker Jamaal Bass was criminally charged last week for a November incident involving members of a band at a game in Toledo.

Bass was indicted by a Lucas County, Ohio, grand jury Friday on one count of felony assault and one count of misdemeanor assault, according to a report Monday in the Toledo Blade. The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of up to eight years in prison.

NIU athletics director Jeff Compher said Monday night that Bass still is enrolled at the university and is on the football team.

“As the legal proceedings in Toledo involving NIU football player Jamaal Bass are ongoing, we will reserve any comment until that process is complete,” Compher said in a news release. “Jamaal is currently enrolled at Northern Illinois and his status with the football program has not changed.”

NIU’s game Nov. 1 at Toledo was televised nationally on ESPN2. Bass can be seen on a recording of the game jumping shoulder-first into the face of a member of the Toledo band and knocking over another person as his team ran onto the field as the band exited.

NIU originally suspended Bass for one game, but the punishment was extended to three games after learning two of the band members received concussions in the incident. Toledo officials initially told Compher the band members were fine, which led to the one-game suspension.

Bass returned and was in the starting lineup for NIU’s Mid-American Conference Championship game against Ohio, and the GoDaddy.com Bowl game against Arkansas State.

NIU coach Dave Doeren apologized for the incident through a news statement the day after the game. In the statement, Doeren described Bass as “extremely remorseful” and said, “We are embarrassed at what occurred and take full responsibility for the situation.”

An arraignment date has not yet been set, according to the Blade report. The case has been assigned to Judge James Jensen in Lucas County.

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