University of Miami Lauded for Dismissing Football Players Accused of Sexual Battery

By Julia Bagg
|  Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014  |  Updated 11:12 AM EDT
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Jawand Blue and Alex Figueroa

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A physician's assistant who spent time in the University of Miami Hurricanes locker room said school leaders were right to swiftly dismiss two linebackers from the football team after a woman accused them of sexual battery.

Frank Sanchez worked with UM football players as a physician's assistant for UHealth Sports Medicine in 2009.

"They're young, they're straight out of high school," Sanchez told NBC 6 Wednesday.

Jawand Blue and Alex Figueroa were arrested Tuesday after Coral Gables Police said they admitted to buying a 17-year-old student alcoholic beverages, then took her back to a dorm room at Pearson Hall and committed sexual acts with her against her will.

Detectives also said the student was incapacitated when the alleged sexual battery happened. Blue and Figueroa, both 20, were booked into Miami-Dade jail and released on bond. It was unknown whether they have attorneys.

Sanchez says coaches run a tight ship and encourage athletes to make good choices. But that doesn't always work.

"It's hard," said Sanchez. "You can't be there all the time...there comes a point where they're gonna make their own decisions."

Some employees and students said they're disappointed with the accusations, but they appreciate the way the university is handling them.

"I'm glad that her allegations were taken seriously," said Amanda Ojo, a UM graduate who works at the campus bookstore. "[The allegations] weren't just pushed aside because they're athletes or anything like that."

The university released a statement Tuesday, saying both players had been dismissed from the team, and that the university is cooperating in the investigation.

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