Why did Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez veer from disciplinary policy he established?
In the early-morning hours of Sept. 28, Arizona Wildcats freshman safety Scottie Young Jr. was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence. The next day, former UA running back Orlando Bradford pleaded guilty to two felony counts related to domestic-violence charges. He will serve at least two years in prison.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez did not handle the two situations in the same manner. While Bradford was immediately dismissed from the team last September, Young continues to participate in all team activities.
Rodriguez and school administrators reached that decision after consulting “with all the appropriate authorities, including the dean of students,” the coach said Monday.
Asked how Young’s situation differed from Bradford’s, Rodriguez said: “It is different. Every situation with all of our players is evaluated individually.”
Rodriguez declined to elaborate further.
What are the differences between the two cases? Why would Rodriguez backtrack on the statement he made last September about Bradford?
Rodriguez spoke about the Bradford situation five days after his arrest and dismissal (which occurred on the same day: Sept. 14, 2016). Said Rodriguez:
“We have a rule. You put your hands on a woman, you’re done. That’s it. If you did it, if you put your hands on a woman in any way, shape or form, you’re done. Next.”
Young faces a misdemeanor charge after getting into a heated argument with his girlfriend that involved him grabbing her wrists, injuring her left hand and spitting in her face, according to the police report.
The woman told police that two days earlier she slapped Young in the face several times. He responded by pushing her into a wall, the police report states. The woman also was arrested early Thursday morning.
Young enrolled at the UA this summer. He drew praise from coaches and teammates throughout August training camp and started the first four games for the 2-2 Wildcats, who visit Colorado on Saturday.
Bradford was arrested after two women came forward to say he had assaulted them multiple times. He ended being charged with 10 felonies and five misdemeanors.
The police report from last September stated that Bradford choked his girlfriend and punched her in the ribs. On Friday, he pleaded guilty to two felony counts of aggravated assault.
It is not clear whether UA coaches were aware of any previous incidents involving Bradford. He had been a member of the football program since June 2015.
Rodriguez said he’s “not optimistic” that senior receiver Cam Denson will be ready to play “anytime soon.”
The former Salpointe Catholic standout has appeared in one game this season, missing the other three because of a foot injury.
Denson originally injured his foot during spring practice. He missed a significant chunk of the offseason and was limited during training camp.
He could continue to rest the foot and hope it heals or undergo a surgical procedure, Rodriguez said.
“It’s really frustrating for Cam, because I thought he was ready for a breakout year,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just one of those injuries that’s going to take a lot of time.”
Denson could apply for a medical redshirt if he wants to pursue a fifth season.
‘Best in the state’
Rodriguez said he was “grateful” that the Arizona Board of Regents approved plans for an indoor sports facility. Rodriguez believes the new building, due to be completed next October, will be an asset to the program in multiple ways.
“It’s going to be the best in the state,” Rodriguez said. “We were able to use this (the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility) when it was built to help us in recruiting and give us a boost. And we’ll be able to do the same with the new indoor coming.
“It shows that there’s a commitment to football and helping our guys get better. It will be a big selling point for us.”
Rodriguez envisions athletes from all sports using the facility to train in summer, when temperatures regularly eclipse triple digits. He also believes the school will be able to rent it to non-UA athletes and teams in Southern Arizona and that it will serve as a tailgating hub before football and basketball games.
“It’ll get used every day,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said walk-on receiver Donovan Moore was released from the hospital Monday after being involved in a serious car accident last week. Moore was the passenger in a car being driven by former Pima College teammate Jordan Waddell, who was killed in the accident. Moore suffered a concussion and a rib injury and will be out of commission for at least a few weeks, Rodriguez said.Senior “Stud” DeAndre’ Miller appears on the depth chart for the first time this season, as the backup to Kylan Wilborn. Consider that another sign that Miller could make his 2017 debut at Colorado after missing the first four games because of a foot injury.Rodriguez confirmed that sophomore safety Isaiah Hayes (shoulder surgery) is out for the season.Rodriguez reiterated that Brandon Dawkins remains the starter at quarterback. But Rodriguez also noted that backup Khalil Tate is healthy now and will “continue to push” Dawkins.Rodriguez described Dawkins’ play to date as “uneven.”Arizona has five players who are from the Las Vegas area, including defensive starters Justin Belknap and Tony Fields II. Rodriguez described the mass shooting that took place there late Sunday night as “very tragic” and “hard to fathom.” “You’re always concerned when there’s athletic events too; you’ve got a large number of people,” Rodriguez said. “You can do all the preparation you can, but some crazy, cowardly person does what that guy did, it’s hard to image.”