LINCOLN — Nebraska defensive end Avery Moss is off the football team for the 2014 season — and not by his choice.
After a Lancaster County Court hearing Monday in which he pleaded no contest to a count of public indecency, Moss confirmed he's been banned from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus until at least Dec. 31, 2014. The World-Herald learned Friday through UNL Dean of Students Matthew Hecker and UNL Campus Police Chief Owen Yardley of the ban. Moss, who missed the Gator Bowl, lost his appeal of the ban earlier in January.
The process allows Moss one more appeal — in December 2014 — before a four-year campus ban is imposed. Moss said he's considering that final appeal and finishing his career at Nebraska. Even if he appeals and the ban is lifted, that would still mean taking a year off from taking classes on campus and practicing with the team.
“Obviously, I don't agree with it,” Moss said of the ban. “I want to come back to Nebraska, but everything's up in the air. I want to stay a Husker as long as I can. I want to graduate here. But that's up in the air due to how they're (banning) me from campus.”
The circumstances, Moss said, make it difficult to decide if waiting another year to appeal is worth it.
“If I do decide to stay, I'll come back and play (if allowed),” he said. “But I don't know if I'm going to stay a year.”
By text, coach Bo Pelini declined comment and referred all queries to university administration. Pelini was in Florida recruiting Monday.
NU Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst “respectfully declined” an interview request through a spokeswoman.
Yardley and Hecker said Friday that student privacy laws prevent them from giving reasons for the ban, but Moss confirmed the ban is related to the public indecency charge.
In mid-December 2012, according to a UNL police report, Moss allegedly exposed himself to a 22-year-old UNL student worker inside a residence hall convenience store. In court Monday, a prosecutor read from the UNL police report that said Moss put his penis on the counter at the convenience store. Video surveillance, according to the report, backed up the student worker's complaint. Moss chose not to contest the charge. He also pleaded no contest to failing to appear for a January 2013 court hearing. Prosecutors dropped a charge of disturbing the peace. Moss will be sentenced March 28.
Throughout the 2013 season, Moss talked to reporters about his play on the field but didn't discuss the charges. Moss said on Monday that he was allowed on most parts of campus in 2013, but not residence halls. Moss lived off-campus with several other Husker defensive linemen. At some point, after the season, he returned to the residence halls in December. Moss said a misunderstanding of when he could return triggered the ban.
“It was a procedural screw-up,” Moss said. “It had nothing to do with me acting out again ... they wanted me to do something and I misinterpreted it. I thought I was allowed to go back into the residence halls after an academic year — that's what it seemed like at first — and afterward it was presumed to be whenever Dr. Hecker said so.”
Hecker did not return a follow-up call made to his office Monday.
Friday, Yardley said that one of his officers made the call on the campus ban, but that he agreed with the decision. Yardley said campus bans are not usually publicized unless there's a belief the student body is in “imminent danger.”
Since the late 2012 incident, Moss has been in counseling, said his lawyer Brad Roth.
“He's done everything I've asked of him,” Roth said.
As a redshirt freshman, Moss finished with 36 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 4Ĺ sacks in 2013. He also had an interception return for a touchdown in NU's 27-24 win over Northwestern. Moss said he's “been browsing around at a bunch of schools” but is still considering staying at Nebraska.