A judge said Wednesday there's probable cause for a grand jury to consider charges against four former Auburn University football players accused in a robbery.

Lee County District Judge Steven Speakman issued the ruling after granting a defense request to bar the public and media from attending the preliminary hearing because three of the players are under 21.

Antonio Goodwin, Shaun Kitchens, Mike McNeil and Dakota Mosley are free on bond following their arrests last month in an alleged holdup at the home of other college students. The grand jury meets the first week of May.

District Attorney Robbie Treese and attorneys for both Mosley and Kitchens declined comment. Attorneys for McNeil and Goodwin did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Goodwin did not attend the hearing, and the others slipped out a side door afterward.

Coach Gene Chizik kicked all four off the national championship team after their arrests on charges of robbery, theft and burglary.

Mosley attorney Davis Whittelsey filed a motion seeking closure of the hearing on behalf of his client and Kitchens and Goodwin because of their age. Only certain family members were allowed to remain in the courtroom with the former players.

Attorneys for the three younger players could seek youthful offender status after the grand jury meets if an indictment is issued.

Police said after the arrests that three black males entered a residence with five occupants at 12:25 a.m. on March 11 and one was armed with a handgun. Mosley is white.

Police said there were no injuries reported. The four were in a vehicle stopped by police based on a description given by the victims, and officers recovered a pistol and property reported stolen from the residence.

McNeil, 22, was a starting safety who had 14 tackles, 12 of them solo stops, in the national title game win over Oregon. He finished fifth on the team with 56 tackles.

Kitchens, 19, and Goodwin, 20, were reserve receivers who played mostly on special teams as freshmen while Mosley, 19, is a tight end who redshirted last season.