Vanderbilt football player arrested on robbery and burglary charges

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 2:11pm
1116 Andre Simmons Main.jpg
Andre Simmons

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin would prefer to dicuss the Commodores’ matchup Saturday against rival Tennessee.

Instead, after practice on Wednesday night, he talked about a legal incident involving one of his players.

Sophomore safety Andre Simmons was suspended indefinitely after he was charged with felony counts of especially aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery on Tuesday.

“We are always going to make sure we represent this university the right way,” Franklin said. “If not, you won’t be a part of the program. We’re never going to do anything to jeopardize the reputation of this university.

"Besides that we’ll wait until the investigation is done to comment.”

According to a Davidson County affidavit, on Tuesday two black males — one armed with a handgun — entered the Lupton Hall room of Vanderbilt sophomore Zachary Abelman, who plays on the school’s club ice hockey team. They told Abelman to open his safe and took approximately $5,000 from it.

A fight unfolded and Abelman was struck on the head with the handgun. One suspect, who has not been identified or arrested, left the room while Simmons, a sophomore, stayed behind to keep Abelman in the room. Simmons then fled the room but Abelman and others chased after him, calling the police. Simmons was chased into Terrace Place Garage, where he started running again before being taken into custody by the police.

“I pray for him and his family. I hope he is OK,” safety Javon Marshall said. “He is a teammate. He is part of our team. We always will miss him. It is a hard time right now.”

When reached by phone on Wednesday, Abelman declined to comment and would not say if he knew Simmons or the other suspect.

Simmons is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. The 19-year-old from Lorton, Va., has played in just one game, contributing on special teams early in the season.

“I talk to the team every day about issues that are happening all over the country,” Franklin said. “If I see something that happened at any university in the country, I put it up on the power point and we talk about making great choices every single day. I don’t know if there is a coach in the country that talks about making good choices as much as I do.”

6 Comments on this post:

By: krjoseph on 11/16/11 at 3:59

The most amazing thing about this story is the college sophomore with $5k cash in a safe in his dorm room.

By: JeffF on 11/16/11 at 4:52

No, the most amazing thing is that this was made public. Apparently the Metro PD was accidentally called in instead of the VUPD. The VUPD is world class at keeping their campus statistics clean.

The drunk driving and public drunkeness arrests of athletes and coached that the rest of the SEC has to deal with never come up at VU because the PD there are more likely to tuck you in at night than arrest you. There are a lot of parents who would not be likely to send their daughters to Vandy if they knew about the rooftop masturbators and minor sexual assaults that never get reported.

By: T-BONE on 11/16/11 at 6:58

Coach Cath-o-lick sez..."all is forgiven cuz he's a "PHOOTBALL" player!

By: rbull on 11/17/11 at 9:02

If this had been a football player from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU or Tennessee this dude's picture would have been on the front page of the newspaper and front page of the USA Today. Yes Vanderbilt police cover up for their students and probably because of the Administration at Vanderbilt. Just because they are a private university they think because their students are excempt from the public. Hey their students get in their britches just like every other student and should have to serve the the time like others. My question is how did the Vanderbilt player come in contact with this Diaz dude (other black guy with the gun) and did Simmons share in the money that was taken from the Vanderbilt student in his dorm room. They both are "thugs" and should have to serve time in the "Big House" and yes both are thiefs big time. Yes I noticed this article didn't identify Diaz but you can bet Simmons knew him from some place in the past and is this their first robbery.

By: dargent7 on 11/17/11 at 9:13

This guy is the true definition of "Idiot" and "Loser" in Webster's Dictionary.
How do these mental midget thugs think they can get away with it?
Like the hockey player will just give up $5k and forget about it?
Give him 10 years in prison so he can contemplate the Universe.

By: localboy on 11/17/11 at 9:45

Isn't VUPD a substation for Metro PD?