Unlike an NFL disciplinary decision that brought a wimpy two-game suspension for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, the University of Oklahoma acted swiftly and authoritatively Monday in the assault case of five-star freshman running back Joe Mixon.
OU president David Boren accepted the recommendation of athletic director Joe Castiglione and football coach Bob Stoops to suspend Mixon from the team for the entire 2014 season.
Mixon appeared in the Cleveland County District Courthouse on Monday, charged with one count of “an act resulting in gross injury” in a July 25 incident at Pickleman’s Gourmet Café. Mixon pleaded not guilty and was released without bail. He was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim, 20-year-old Amelia Rae Molitor, who suffered four broken bones in her face.
Boren, Castiglione and Stoops met with Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn on Monday morning to get fully apprised of the investigation, but it is unknown if the OU officials saw surveillance video of the incident before it was sealed.
Judge Steven Stice ruled the tape cannot be released until case is over. Mixon’s next court appearance is set for 9 a.m. on Sept. 23.
Mixon, who has not practiced with the team since the incident, will be excluded from all team activities and was removed from this year's roster.
Whether Mixon will be allowed to return for the 2015 season has yet to be determined. “With appropriate conditions, he will be permitted to continue as a student, eligible for financial aid,” Castiglione and Stoops said in joint statement released Monday afternoon. “As the university has demonstrated in the past, we are committed to winning the right way. As an example to others, OU sets the highest possible standards for its student athletes, coaches and staff.”
Stoops refused further comment on Mixon after Monday’s practice.
Boren also shared a letter to the editor with The Oklahoman, which ran Monday:
"As another school year opens, it’s helpful to reflect upon a university’s goals and purposes. Universities were established to train and educate the next generation. At the University of Oklahoma, the academic mission comes first. OU aims to graduate young women and men who will be good citizens. This means not only educating students in academic disciplines, but also by passing on to them solid values for living. As classes begin, OU is proud to welcome the academically highest- ranked freshman class in state history at a public university.
"OU also is a leader in intercollegiate athletics. What’s the university’s goal in that area? It’s to win games and championships the right way — by playing by the rules. The goal is not to win at any cost. OU seeks to be a role model for other colleges and universities by setting the highest possible standards for players, coaches and staff. Playing on a team teaches student athletes firsthand about teamwork, time management and self-discipline. It should also teach them the importance of personal integrity and tolerance and respect for others.
"As Sooners, we’re proud that Athletics Director Joe Castiglione and coaches such as Bob Stoops and his colleagues are admired nationally for their integrity. The University of Oklahoma is firmly committed to excellence."
David Boren, Norman