Nigel Bethel, the incoming football recruit at Texas Tech who was dismissed after punching a female basketball player last month, was reinstated this week after a grand jury declined to indict him on assault charges.
In fact, the Lubbock County grand jury even took the unusual step of writing a letter Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt in support of Bethel, saying he was provoked by women's basketball player Amber Battle, according to KCBD-TV
"We believe [Bethel] was unduly and prematurely punished," stated the letter signed by all 12 members of the Lubbock County grand jury. "This was an unfortunate incident in a pick-up basketball game. This is a matter that should not result in criminal charges for either party. We desire to see Mr. Bethel's scholarship re-instated. If he is re-instated, it is our belief that his consequences should not be greater than those of Ms. Battle."
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Hocutt announced Wednesday that Bethel, the Red Raiders' highest recruit, will miss 25 percent of the team's games this year as part of his return. Battle, who admitted to pushing Bethel for fouling her during a June 28 pickup basketball game at Texas Tech's student recreational center, will serve a suspension for the month of November.
"This is an unfortunate situation with a unique set of circumstances and there are no winners," Hocutt said in a statement this week
. "We looked at the totality of the situation and have arrived at this decision. Two talented young people made a mistake, have shown remorse and learned some very valuable life lessons."
Bethel said in the Texas Tech news release that he was grateful for a second chance at the university.
"It's not who I am and I am sorry for the embarrassment this has caused," he said. "I want to thank Amber Battle for accepting my apology and for coming forward to say that I deserved a second chance."
Battle, a Texas Tech senior, also commented on Bethel's reinstatement.
"We were both at fault in this situation and I believe our punishment should be equal," she said. "This is a good opportunity for us to learn from our mistakes and I think we both have. Hopefully now we can move forward and focus on helping our teams compete at the highest level."
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