Exonerated high school football star to speak at NAU

Brian Banks

Brian Banks had a full-ride football scholarship waiting for him at the University of Southern California and harbored dreams of life in the NFL. Those hopes were upended when the then 16-year-old Banks was accused of kidnap and rape.

Instead of suiting up for USC in the fall, Banks traded in his football uniform for an orange jumpsuit that he wore for five years while serving his sentence in a California state prison. He then spent another four years wearing an ankle monitor as a registered sex offender.

On parole, Banks’ life took another dramatic turn when his accuser contacted him and admitted on video that she had lied. With the help of the California Innocence Project, the evidence was used to exonerate Banks in 2012, nearly a decade after his conviction.

Now free and with a cleared name, Banks is on a mission to seek support for NAU’s Arizona Innocence Project and similar programs throughout the country.

Banks will visit campus to share his story at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, in Cline Library Auditorium on the Northern Arizona University campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.