Two University of Miami football players were arrested and charged with sexual battery Tuesday morning after admitting to Coral Gables police they got a 17-year-old intoxicated and then raped her on campus over the holiday weekend.
JaWand Blue, 20, and Alexander Figueroa, who turned 20 on Tuesday, have since been dismissed by the school, according to a statement made by athletic director Blake James.
“Earlier today, I permanently dismissed JaWand Blue and Alexander Figueroa from the UM football team,” James said in a statement. “The University has also suspended the students from school and barred them from all campus facilities while the University conducts an internal investigation and continues to cooperate with local law enforcement.
“Any allegation of a sexual assault is extremely serious, and the University will not tolerate conduct that threatens the sanctity and safety of our students and our campus. We hold all of our students — especially student athletes — to the highest standards of moral conduct. The University is committed to maintaining a safe campus environment for all.”
According to Coral Gables police, the victim, also a UM student, reported the crime to campus police. Coral Gables police investigated and made the arrests.
According to the arrest report, the incident occurred in the early morning hours Saturday inside Figueroa’s dorm room at Pearson Hall on campus.
According to the report, Blue and Figueroa administered or had knowledge of someone else administering to the victim a narcotic, anesthetic or other intoxicating substance that mentally or physically incapacitated the victim without her prior knowledge or consent. Police said the victim was physically helpless to resist.
On Tuesday morning, Blue and Figueroa admitted to police they bought and provided several alcoholic beverages for the victim before bringing her back to Figueroa’s dorm room. They admitted to performing sexual acts on her without her consent, the report said. Both were immediately arrested and transported to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. Figueroa was also charged with having a fake driver’s license.
A spokeswoman for Miami-Dade Corrections said Blue and Figueroa were in the process of bonding out of jail Tuesday for $10,000 and $15,000, respectively. Miami-Dade state attorney’s office spokesman Ed Griffith said both were scheduled to be arraigned in front of Judge Maria Elena Verde on July 29.
UM president Donna Shalala released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying she had spoken to the victim and offered full support.
“The safety and welfare of our students is fundamental to our mission as a university. We have zero tolerance for sexual assault and gender-based violence,” Shalala said in her statement. “There is no confusion about our responsibility as a university: We will fully and compassionately support the victim of sexual assault. I have spoken to her myself and reassured her of our full support.
“We have suspended the men involved, and they have been barred from campus. Our athletic director has taken firm action ending their involvement in the football program. We have notified the individuals involved that the university is beginning an investigation immediately, which we expect to conclude quickly and fairly. We will also continue to cooperate with the police in their ongoing criminal investigation.”
Blue, a former three-star recruit from West Boca Raton High, played in two games last season and registered one tackle. He finished the spring as the backup middle linebacker behind Denzel Perryman.
Figueroa, the son of military parents from Stafford, Va., played in nine games last season and made two starts, registering 17 tackles. He ended the spring listed as a co-starter at outside linebacker along with Thurston Armbrister.
Getting a quick boot from the team following an arrest is nothing new under coach Al Golden.
In May 2011, Hurricanes freshman defensive lineman Jeffrey Brown was booted from the team after being accused of sexual battery on a helpless victim and admitting to Coral Gables police he had sex with a severely-intoxicated female student in a campus dorm. Those charges were eventually downgraded to false imprisonment and Brown was asked to serve three years probation, complete a sex therapy program and perform 100 hours of community service.
Two months earlier, senior linebacker Ramon Buchanan was arrested and charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors following an incident at a Coconut Grove nightclub. Buchanan was suspended from the team following his arrest but reinstated two weeks later after he was permitted to enter a pre-trial diversion program.
In December 2012, sophomore cornerback Thomas Finnie was suspended indefinitely from the football team after surrendering to police and admitting he was involved in a laptop theft on campus. He did not return and now plays at Bethune-Cookman College.
In April 2013, freshman linebacker Gabe Terry was kicked off the team following his arrest on charges of felony marijuana possession.