Fans flock to Vandy's fan day - WSMV Channel 4

Fans flock to Vandy's fan day

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Four former Vanderbilt football players facing rape charges cast a shadow on the school's annual preseason fan day Sunday.

Brandon Banks, Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg remain in a Metro jail and Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie made bond in the case against the former Commodores.

Each of the four is now charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery of an unconscious female student inside a Vanderbilt dorm room. Police said Vandenburg is additionally charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography.

A record crowd of more than 5,000 fans attended the annual event to show its support of the Commodores football team, which opens its season Aug. 29 at home against Ole Miss.

"My hope for this season is to go undefeated at home," said fan Paul Pike. "It's just a great group of kids. When you watch them play with helmet and shoulder pads, it's one thing. But you come out here and see their character, that my kids can look at and be a part of, it's a really neat experience.

Off the field the team faces a tough road.

A Davidson County grand jury indicted Banks, Batey, McKenzie and Vandenburg last week. The indictment was unsealed on Friday after Batey's arrest at his Nashville home.

"It's sickening to think about what happened," said Pike. "It literally makes you sick to your stomach.

"But it doesn't impact anything with my view of the players on the field today."

McKenzie bonded out of jail Saturday while Banks, Batey and Vandenburg remain in custody.

"They just lost control of their mind and should've known better," said fan Gary Basford. "They were college-age students and they should've known better."

Despite the disappointment, most fans seemed to insist on staying positive for the sake of the season.

"What you hope they do is realize right from wrong, which these guys do, because they're not a part of what happened," said Pike. "But also to realize that you come together as a family. And you grow stronger as a family. Through adversity relationships can grow stronger."

As for the criminal cases, we do not know yet when the four will make their first court appearance.

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