ETSU Basketball Player Appears In Court

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - An East Tennessee State University basketball player goes from one type of court to another. Sheldon Cooley was arrested Thursday night; Friday morning he faced a judge for allegedly filing a phony police report.

A red jumpsuit isn't Sheldon Cooley's typical uniform. The starting guard for the ETSU Buccaneers was arraigned on charges of filing a false police report.

Cooley told the judge this is the first time he's ever been in trouble with the law.

"He was a good citizen," said Tom Jessee, Cooley's attorney. "He's never ever been charged with anything else before, hasn't had any trouble."

That is until he told campus police $1,300 he just got from the money center at a Walmart went missing the night his two teammates JC Ward and Adam Sollazzo told police they were robbed.

News 5 pulled the affidavit of complaint that states probable cause for Cooley's arrest. According to that document, Cooley admitted to never having the $1,300 he once claimed was stolen.

We talked to one of Cooley's friends who told us, she believes all the pieces of this puzzle aren't fitting together.

"Knowing him as a friend, i don't believe that some of the stuff that happened, there had to be a reason behind it," said Arianna Petty.

Until all the facts are known about the robbery and Cooley's alleged false report, he'll remain suspended indefinitely from the team. This means he'll keep his full scholarship, but you won't see him on the court.

"We're looking at things a step at a time, and at the proper time, we'll make what we believe is the proper decision," said Dave Mullins, ETSU's athletic director.

For now, some students told us, keeping Cooley apart from the team is the right call.

"I think he has a responsibility to the university to uphold some kind of integrity, and I think if he's charged with anything, even if it's true or not, that he should be suspended," said Mesa Ellington, an ETSU junior.

But many still have questions about what happened that night at Buccaneer Ridge and are hoping for answers soon.

"I want to keep myself safe in case things like this really do occur and reoccur," said Marquis Creech, a student who lives at Bucaneer Ridge.

ETSU is not releasing any more information about the robbery, but they did tell us they are actively investigating the situation.

As for Cooley, he is out on a recognizance bond. He's scheduled to appear back in court March 22.

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