USC designated hitter Jake Williams was charged with providing beer to two underage men during a postgame party Saturday prior to his indefinite suspension from the baseball team.
Cayce police said Wednesday that Williams, 21, was ticketed after he admitted he gave alcohol to the two, who were among about 25 people partying at Williams’ home at The Retreat, an off-campus complex of “cottages” off Bluff Road that is popular with USC students.
Williams was not taken into custody. He faces up to about $680 in fines for each violation. As of Wednesday, Williams had not paid the fine. His court date is April 21 in Cayce municipal court.
But police arrested Williams’ roommate, Thomas H. Moore, 19, after they found a small refrigerator converted into a grow box inside a second-floor closet. It had four young marijuana plants inside, according to a police report. Officers also found marijuana inside a pill bottle and another pill bottle with a stem and a makeshift bowl. Moore is charged with cultivating marijuana, possession of the drug as well as drug paraphernalia. He also is charged with underage possession of beer.
Moore has no connection to the defending national championship team, team spokesman Andrew Kitick said.
The two underage men who had beer were not charged. State law bans the purchase, possession or drinking of any alcoholic beverage by anyone younger than 21.
Cayce Public Safety Director Charles McNair said his officer did not charge the two because Williams admitted he provided the beer they were holding.
The police report states that most of the young people at the party were younger than 21. McNair said he is unaware that any of them was charged with possession or consumption of alcohol.
Instead, his officer decided to focus on the drug offense, which required that he gather evidence. “We were concentrating on that and getting all that evidence rather than following up on underage drinking,” McNair said.
Officers closed down the party. None of the partiers appeared drunk or the officers would not have allowed them to leave alone, he said.
“Believe it of not, we give people a break once in a while,” McNair said.
Officers from several local police departments are assigned to alcohol enforcement and education about underage drinking. The police team went to the home about 11:30 p.m. Saturday because of a loud party, the director said. The baseball team returned to Columbia about 9 p.m. from Knoxville where it swept the Tennessee Volunteers in a three-game series.
About 20 to 25 young people were indoors and outside the unit that Williams and Moore share, McNair said. The Retreat, which is in Richland County, became part of Cayce in 2007 because it is part of a 3,000-acre tract annexed by city council.
The Gamecocks, ranked third in the nation, play host to No. 1 ranked Vanderbilt in a three-game series this weekend.
Until Williams is reinstated, he will not play or practice with the team, Kitick said. Tanner declined Wednesday to discuss the matter. After Tuesday night’s loss to The Citadel, the coach said, “It’s very unfortunate. I’m really disappointed. We didn’t need that situation to arise, but that’s the way it is, and he’s suspended.”
Tanner would not discuss the reason for the suspension nor the criminal charges. The coach also would not guarantee a return for Williams, but said it he returns it would not be in the near future.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound left fielder from Greer transferred from Wofford College after the 2009 season. He did not make the trip with the team Tuesday to Charleston. After beginning the season in a reserve role, Williams pushed his way into the regular lineup with his solid bat. He is hitting .286 with two homers and 18 RBIs on the season while starting six games in left field and 19 at designated hitter.
He earned the Tom Price Award as USC’s MVP in the three-game series between the Gamecocks and Clemson. His three-run homer at Greenville’s Fluor Field in the series finale helped provide the margin of victory in the 5-4 win.