UW back regrets arrest
WISCONSIN DELLS Montee Ball was reminded earlier this month that anything he does in public can have ramifications.
“It was very unfortunate,” Wisconsin’s decorated tailback said Wednesday during a “Badger Day” event at Kalahari Resort. “I was literally at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Ball was referring to his arrest May 5 during the annual Mifflin Street Block Party. Ball was cited for trespassing, released without incident and had to pay a fine of $429.
Ball was among more than 400 people arrested, with most cited for violations such as carrying open intoxicants, underage drinking or trespassing.
“The owner wanted everyone off their property and I was there for like two minutes,” Ball said. “What I need to understand is that everyone is looking at me.
“I’ve got to make sure I keep myself away from ‘normal’ students. I can’t do what they do.”
Coach Bret Bielema spoke to Ball about the incident, and Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, apologized to his teammates.
“I think that whole environment was a (lesson) for all our guys this year, especially Montee,” Bielema said. “When you’re a guy that is up for the Heisman Trophy, everything you do is going to be scrutinized.”
Bielema stressed he wouldn’t have felt comfortable ordering his players to stay away from the annual party.
“I’m not that guy,” he said. “I think a team that has more rules, you have guys who are trying to find ways to get around them.
“But we strongly recommend certain things. I said if you make a choice to go to Mifflin you’ve got to be aware.”
According to Ball, having to tell his parents he was arrested was the most difficult part of the day.
“My parents were very disappointed in me,” he said. “Just for going in the first place, which that is my fault.”
Next on the list was being handcuffed before being released.
“There were so many emotions going on in my mind,” he said. “Because it wasn’t necessary at all. But it happened. It is behind me.”
As a junior, Ball led the country in rushing yards (1,923) and tied Barry Sanders’ NCAA mark for touchdowns in a season with 39 (33 rushing, six receiving).
He is expected to be in the preseason discussion for the 2012 Heisman Trophy.
Will the trespassing citation have any effect on his image or Heisman chances?
“I don’t see why it would,” Ball said. “To me it’s like a speeding ticket.”
Bielema, who also revealed that quarterbacks Jon Budmayr (nerve issues, hip surgery) and Bart Houston (shoulder surgery) would not play in 2012, said that talk of Ball’s arrest died as quickly as the news spread via the Internet.
“You guys treated it for what it was,” he said. “It wasn’t something to the extent that some other players are involved with or other situations.”
Center Travis Frederick confirmed Ball apologized to the team but suggested the players didn’t need to hear an apology.
“It’s a situation that could have happened to anybody,” Frederick said. “And it happened to about 500 people.
“You kind of live and learn.”