Basketball standout Emoni Bates can resume activity at Eastern Michigan University after plea negotiations resulted in the dismissal of felony weapons charges filed in September.
Steve Haney, the attorney representing Bates, said Thursday he negotiated a plea deal with the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's office that drops felony weapons charges issued after his client was stopped by police in Superior Township.
Under the agreement, Bates will plead to one misdemeanor count of attempted illegal transportation of a weapon. After Bates completes a misdemeanor diversion program, the charge will be dismissed completely, Haney said.
When asked to comment, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office responded Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, with a brief written statement:
“As with all our cases, and pursuant to our ethical obligations, we will not be making public comment of substance until after the judicial process is concluded.”
Bates was arrested and charged with felony weapons violations Sept. 18. Washtenaw County deputies said they initiated a traffic stop when a vehicle failed to stop at the intersection of Nottingham and Clark roads, northeast of EMU’s campus, early that morning. During the stop, deputies said, a firearm was discovered in the vehicle, and Bates, who had been driving, was taken into custody.
Per EMU Athletics Department policy, Bates was suspended automatically from practice and playing privileges following the arrest. On Thursday, university athletic department officials said Bates' suspension has been lifted.
"The Eastern Michigan University Department of Athletics has received notification that there is an agreement between the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office and Emoni Bates' defense team that would result in the felony charges being dismissed,” EMU Athletic Director Scott Wetherbee said in a written statement. “In accordance with EMU athletics policies, Mr. Bates is immediately reinstated to all athletic and campus activities.”
Touted as the best player in the 2022 class, Bates announced in August that he would be playing for EMU, after spending his college freshman year in Memphis. He had also received offers from Kentucky and Michigan, but he said coming home felt like the right fit.
Bates, who grew up in the Ypsilanti area, was ranked by 247 Sports as the number one overall recruit of the 2022 class. He led Ypsilanti Township’s Lincoln High School to a Division 1 Championship and was named the Gatorade National Basketball player of the year for 2020.
With only two weeks left until the start of the 2022-23 basketball season, the Eagles are looking to make an appearance at the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998 under the leadership of head coach Stan Heath.
The Eastern Echo is following this story and will provide updates in print and online.