Nebraska tailback Lawrence Phillips pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and trespassing charges Tuesday, and prosecutors decided against filing assault charges against backup Damon Benning in another incident.
Backup tailback James Sims faces a Nov. 7 court appearance on misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and vandalism after a July 3 incident involving his ex-girlfriend.
In all, three running backs for the second-ranked Cornhuskers have been accused of roughing up their ex-girlfriends this year.
Benning was cleared Tuesday, Sims maintained his innocence, and Phillips, in addition to his no contest pleas, sent a letter of apology to his victim.
Under Nebraska law, a no contest plea is the same as a guilty plea for sentencing purposes. Phillips' assault and trespassing charges each carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $500 fine.
Lancaster County attorney Gary Lacey said he would recommend probation, counseling and completion of an anger-control program for the running back. Sentencing is set for Dec. 1.
Lacey said probation was more likely to solve first-time domestic violence problems than jail time. He said no one pressured him in the case.
The development does not mean Phillips will return immediately for the Cornhuskers, Coach Tom Osborne said. Phillips still must satisfy doctors that he has taken steps to control his anger, Osborne said, and an NCAA investigation into Phillips' past must be settled.
Tennessee Coach Phillip Fulmer dismissed wide receiver-kick returner Nilo Silvan from the team after Silvan was charged Sunday with raping a 17-year-old Knoxville girl.
A second player, offensive tackle Leslie Ratliffe, is being withheld from competition by the university while charges by his girlfriend are being investigated. The girlfriend alleged Ratliffe accepted gifts from a booster, a violation of NCAA rules.