Nigel Bethel III, an incoming freshman corner back, has been reinstated to the Texas Tech football team.
Tech announced at a press conference Wednesday that he will serve a three-game suspension for his involvment in an incident at the Tech student recreation center on June 28.
"This is an unfortunate situation with a unique set of circumstances and there are no winners," said Kirby Hocutt, Director of Athletics in a Texas Tech news release. "Every decision related to this case has been the right one at that particular time based upon our principles, student-athlete code of conduct and team rules. As I continued to work with Coach Kingsbury and Coach Whitaker, 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."
Battle, a senior on the women's basketball team, has been suspended for the month of November for her role in the incident with Bethel.
"I'm relieved that Nigel is receiving a second chance because I believe in second chances," Battle said in the release. "We were both at fault in this situation and I believe our punishment should be equal. 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."
A Lubbock County grand jury found no evidence to charge Bethel with a felony count of aggravated assault stemming from a fight with Lady Raider basketball player Amber Battle, Bethel’s attorney said in a news conference Tuesday.
"I am thankful for the opportunity to come back to Texas Tech," Bethel said in a release. "I take full responsibility for my actions and I would like to let everyone know that this won't happen again. It's not who I am and I am sorry for the embarrassment this has caused. I want to thank Amber Battle for accepting my apology and for coming forward to say that I deserved a second chance. I would like to thank everyone at Texas Tech, including the coaches, for believing in me and giving me a second chance to show my ability and to receive an education from Texas Tech."
Lubbock attorney Tray Payne, who is representing Bethel, said his client is relieved he no longer faces the pending criminal charge.
Additionally, the grand jury sent a letter to Tech officials asking Bethel be reinstated to the football team, he said.
The decision came two weeks after a pickup basketball game at the Tech recreation center that ended when Battle suffered a fractured bone in her face, sending her to the hospital.
Tech police responded to a reported aggravated assault at about 6 p.m. June 28 at the student recreation center. Investigators believe one student struck another student in the face, causing serious injury, according to a Tech police offense report.