Kansas reinstates Pooka Williams, to miss opener

Kansas standout running back Pooka Williams has been reinstated following a seven-month suspension but will sit out the 2019 season opener, the team announced Monday.

Williams, arrested and charged with domestic battery in December, reached a domestic violence diversion agreement with the Douglas County district attorney's office in March.

Jayhawks coach Les Miles had suspended Williams from all team activities until Monday. Williams, the Big 12's third-leading rusher in 2018 with 1,125 yards, will sit out Kansas' Aug. 31 opener against Indiana State. He earned Big 12 offensive freshman of the year honors.

"My behavior was unacceptable, and I'm very sorry to those who were impacted by my poor choices," Williams said in a prepared statement. "I am disappointed in myself, not just as a man, but as a student-athlete looked up to by younger kids. My suspension from football has been hard, but I have learned from it. I'm thankful I can continue with my education at KU. Looking ahead, the most important thing to me is to regain the trust and respect of my classmates, teammates, and fans. I am humbled to return to football and to prepare for the season."

Williams was charged in December after an 18-year-old Kansas student he was dating told police that he punched her in the stomach and grabbed her throat. An affidavit obtained by The Kansas City Star showed that the woman had text messages from Williams admitting to punching her. A police officer found bruises on the woman, according to the affidavit.

As part of his diversion agreement, Williams was required to undergo a domestic violence offender assessment, complete 40 hours of community service and an anger management course, avoid contacting the victim in the case, and not consume alcohol or recreational drugs. He also faces several requirements from the university, including monthly meetings with a university conduct counselor and 40 hours of community service.

"Pooka has taken responsibility for his actions and we are happy he is back with the team," Miles said in a statement. "This young man has learned much throughout this process and we will support him as he continues working through the required educational and accountability steps."