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Eligibility Hearing Reinstates Ref-Hitting Rojas

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On Tuesday, Victor Rojas, suspended from John Jay (San Antonio) in 2015 for attacking a game official on-field, was reinstated as an eligible participant in competitive sports for the 2017-18 school year by the University Interscholastic League.

Rojas was allowed, through unanimous vote, to return to competition in his senior year under strict probation—any unsportsmanlike conduct will result in automatic dismissal from UIL activities.

Rojas and Michael Moreno, the other student involved in the attack on the referee, were both suspended from John Jay for 75 days in 2015, and neither have been allowed to participate in UIL activities since the 2015-16 school year.

For more on repercussions for the student-athletes, see: Light Punishment, Lingering Questions at Ref-Hit Hearing

In an interview following the incident, the players implicated assistant coach Mack Breed as having instigated the attack, claiming he told them to hit official Roberts Watts after Watts allegedly was heard using racial slurs.

For more on the interview, see: Players on National TV: Coach Ordered Hit on Referee

Watts denied using any slurs, and an investigation by the officials’ association found no evidence to support the allegations. Breed originally admitted his part in the attack, turning in his resignation and accepting a plea bargain on charges of misdemeanor assault.

Breed was placed on probation for 18 months and was required to complete anger management courses, along with 120 hours of community service, and to pay restitution to Watts. He was also required to surrender his Texas teaching certificate.

However, Breed later claimed that he only accepted part of the blame in order to shield his players from permanent expulsion. The change of story resulted in several changes in severity of punishment.

For more on penalties inflicted on Breed, see: Coach Admits to Ordering Hit on Ref, Resigns, RecantsCoach Who Ordered Ref Hit Gets Probation

According to the ruling by the UIL executive committee, it will be up to the athletic coordinator and administration at John Jay to respond to future petitions from Rojas, which will determine whether he is allowed to compete in school events.

Barry Perez, a spokesperson for the Northside Independent School District, told USA Today HSS that Rojas’ return to play will likely be contingent upon his willingness to sign a binding behavioral contract. 

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