A former University of Kentucky men’s basketball player who was convicted of numerous sex crimes was granted parole Tuesday, according to the Kentucky Department of Corrections.
Tom Payne, 68, was the first black man to play on UK’s basketball team. He subsequently was convicted of rape in multiple states, according to the Kentucky Parole Board.
At a parole hearing in November 2016, the board deferred his request for parole for two years.
In 1977, Payne was found guilty of raping a woman in Georgia and was given a life sentence. He also got a five-year prison sentence for detaining a woman against her will the same year. The crimes occurred in 1971, according to court records.
He was first paroled in 1983 but three years later, he was convicted of rape in California. He was paroled in June 2000 but was returned to Kentucky for another prison stint over a parole violation. He was held at the Kentucky State Reformatory in LaGrange.
The 7-foot-2 Payne was the first and only black player to accept a scholarship from Adolph Rupp. He was also a former NBA player and professional boxer.
WHAS spoke to Payne in February 2015 and he told the station he would not defend his past.
“I never try to defend the indefensible,” Payne told WHAS. “When you do something that devalues another human being, and you do something that’s invasive to another human being, and you do something that causes consequences to another human being. That’s terrible!”
A year later at his 2016 parole hearing, he told the board he was remorseful and broken, according to LEX 18.
“I want to show that a man can be redeemed. A man can come out of here and live a decent life,” he said two years ago.