Three University of Wisconsin students were charged on Monday in the alleged attack on Wisconsin running back Montee Ball last month, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
However, the report also said a witness to the incident told investigators that one of the suspects said Ball had "jumped" him the previous week, according to a complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court.
The three suspects charged with substantial battery were Wendell J. Venerable, 21; Robert A. Wilks, 22; and Deonte J. Wilson, 21, and witnesses said they were among the five men who beat Ball in downtown Madison, Wis., early on the morning of Aug. 1. One of the other two was not charged, and the fifth was not identified.
Wilson, Wilks and Venerable remain free on signature bonds after appearing in court Monday. A preliminary hearing was set for Oct. 2.
Ball, one of five finalists for the Heisman Trophy last year, sustained a concussion as a result of the attack.
The complaint does not include any mention of a fight during a July 27 house party that was attended by football players, according to the State Journal report. Ball attended the party, but police have said Ball was not involved in the fight.
The complaint does state, however, that one of the men involved in the attack on Ball told someone trying to come to Ball's defense during the incident that Ball had jumped him the week before.
According to the complaint, as reported by the State Journal:
Ball was walking home with Christina Kukowski and Sarah Stefanich, Kukowski told police, when she heard someone say, "Montee." She saw Ball get punched in the face, and he fell to the ground, at which point others began kicking him.
She told police she lay on top of Ball, and the beating stopped and the men fled. A witness, Abraham Palacio, said that after the attack he heard one of the assailants say, "We got nine football players to go." Two other witnesses told police they heard one alleged assailant say, "One down, nine to go. You football players better watch out!"
Palacio told police that he jumped in and tried to protect Ball, and Palacio said one of the alleged assailants said that Ball had "jumped" him the week before.
In the complaint, Kukowski also said Ball was knocked unconscious but afterward kept saying he was OK. At the St. Mary's Hospital emergency room, Officer Jacob Conrad said Ball seemed confused and did not recall much of the incident.
Ball missed considerable practice time, but has played in all three regular-season games. His statistics are down considerably from last season, when he averaged 137.4 yards per game and 6.3 yards a carry while scoring 33 touchdowns. This season, he's averaging 106.7 yards a game and 3.8 yards a carry and has scored two touchdowns.