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25-year-old wrongfully convicted of child sex crime signs to play football at Eastern Michigan

Nick Bromberg
·3-min read

Greg Kelley is getting a chance to play football at Eastern Michigan after wrongfully spending time in prison on sexual assault charges.

Kelley, 25, was wrongfully convicted in 2014 on two child sexual assault charges. He was officially exonerated in November and posted to Instagram on Saturday that he had signed scholarship papers with EMU.

“I want to thank everyone at Eastern Michigan for giving me this opportunity to play the game I love again,” Kelley wrote. “I missed it so much and I can’t wait to pad up this week!”

Accusations from two young boys

The Leander, Texas, native was arrested in Cedar Park in August of 2013 on accusations that he had sexually assaulted a young boy and was later accused of another sexual act by a 4-year-old.

Kelley, who had been verbally committed to play football at Texas-San Antonio, was convicted in 2014 on two charges of super-aggravated sexual assault against one of the boys. He was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years without parole.

But there were glaring problems with the arguments against him that led to the overturning of his conviction. The kids who accused him of the crimes never were shown photographs to confirm that Kelley was the perpetrator. The detective in the case also didn’t interview Kelley or even go to the location where the accusations took place.

In 2017, Kelley was released on bond after his attorney filed a writ of habeas corpus. Included in that filing was the revelation that another man had admitted to the crimes. Kelley was released on bond after a hearing and got a recommendation from a judge that his conviction should be overturned.

In November, he was exonerated.

This is an Eastern Michigan football helmet on the turf at Beaver Stadium before an NCAA college football game between Penn State  and Eastern Michigan in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Greg Kelley hasn't played in a competitive football game since his junior year of high school. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Subject of a documentary

Kelley’s plight recently became the subject of a documentary. Showtime’s “Outcry” is a five-part series that debuted in July and chronicled the inaccurate case against Kelley.

“I was willing to do anything,” Kelley told Sports Illustrated in June. “I didn’t know what my fate was going to be, but I didn’t just want this documentary to be made. I needed it to be made.”

Kelley tried to be a walk-on at Texas

Kelley is at Eastern Michigan after he tried out at Texas. He started doing football workouts in 2017 after he had been released on bond and wanted to walk on with the Longhorns this season. But he didn’t join the team because Texas said that it wouldn’t be taking any walk-ons via tryouts.

As of now, Kelley will have to wait until the spring of 2020 to have a chance to play in a college football game. The MAC suspended all fall sports earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. And while the conference may revisit that decision in the coming days, no announcement has been made.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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