JACKSONVILLE — Former four-star tight end Landon Rice, found “responsible” for a sexual assault while at Auburn, will transfer to Jacksonville State, according to a Twitter account appearing to belong to a JSU assistant coach.
“It’s OFFICIAL,” said a post on an account under the name of J.R. Sandlin, JSU’s tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator, Monday. “Landon Rice is a JSU Gamecock.”
The post, made about 6 p.m. Monday, included hashtags #StayCocky and #FearTheBeak.
JSU athletics director Greg Seitz issued a statement, saying JSU “conducted a very thorough investigation surrounding all of the facts on Landon Rice, just like we do on any of our recruits."
“After speaking with several officials from Auburn University and getting all of the facts surrounding the investigation, and after meeting with Landon, we decided to allow Landon to enroll at JSU and join our football program.”
Seitz attached an Auburn memorandum of final disposition, issued by Kelley Taylor, director AA/EEO and Title IX coordinator, on Nov. 7, 2017, saying sanctions levied against Rice as a result of Auburn’s Title IX investigation have been lifted.
“This memorandum is to confirm that, effective September 26, 2017, all sanctions imposed upon Landon Jerry Rice as a result of (the Title IX probe) expired and, as of that date, he was returned to the status of ‘good standing’ at Auburn University.”
The memorandum declared the matter “concluded.” Rice has not been charged with a crime.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Rice signed with Auburn in February of 2016 out of Calhoun, Ga. He listed as the No. 8 tight end prospect nationally, according to 247Sports Composite.
Rice left Auburn’s program in September of 2016 because of what Auburn coach Gus Malzahn described as “personal reasons.” A Title IX investigation conducted by the school found him “responsible” of sexual assault, stemming from an alleged April 2016 incident.
Rice was accused of first-degree rape. Lee County Circuit Court judge Steven Speakman granted a temporary order of protection against him, filed by an unidentified 19-year-old accuser, according to court documents.
Auburn denied Rice’s attempts to appeal the school’s ruling, and at the time, the university banned him from stepping foot on campus until the fall of 2024.
Rice spent the 2017 season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, catching eight passes for 102 yards in nine games.
“We have high standards for all of our student-athletes, and we do our due diligence on all recruits before they join any of our athletics teams at Jacksonville State,” Seitz’s statement read. “Landon was treated the same.
“Privacy laws prevents us from releasing more details on the investigation.”
Contact Sports Writer Joe Medley at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter, @jmedley_star.