Oct. 2, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio University announced today that President Roderick McDavis has asked Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt to thoroughly evaluate the policies currently in place guiding behavior of student-athletes.
"We take the recently-publicized legal issues within the athletics department very seriously and have initiated a thorough evaluation of our student-athlete code of conduct," said McDavis. "While high expectations for student-athlete behavior already exist, it is our intent to establish clearly-defined standardized penalties for misconduct."
Hocutt announced indefinite suspensions for four student-athletes. Tommy Stuck, a sophomore member of the football team, Paul Johnson, a junior member of the football team, Wesley Dunlap, a sophomore member of the football team, and Ken Ottrix, a senior member of the men's basketball team, will not be allowed to participate in any practices or competition during the period of suspension.
Stuck was cited September 30 for underage consumption, and Hocutt said his status will be re-evaluated once the situation is resolved legally. Both Johnson and Dunlap were suspended prior to the September 30 football game vs. Bowling Green and will remain on suspension until the evaluation of the student-athlete code of conduct is completed. Johnson was recently convicted of assault in Athens County Municipal Court while Dunlap was convicted of driving under the influence in April.
Ottrix, who has had two alcohol-related charges, will be suspended until his legal situation is resolved.
"Everything that we've done here today is consistent with our current and existing policy, said Hocutt. "What the President has asked me to do is review that policy. I have exercised my right, as the current policy gives me, to indefinitely suspend a student-athlete. We're looking to get better in everything we do, and this is one of those things. I really believe that while we face some difficult and embarrassing times right now, that we will be better as a department and as a program after this review and the implementation of our new policy."
While three of the players are members of the football team, Hocutt stressed that the policy being reviewed applies to the entire department.
"It is time for the athletics department to review our overall policy and procedures," said Hocutt. "Then whatever our head coaches decide to implement above and beyond our department policy, then obviously they have that discretion. This is a review of our department student-athlete code of conduct policy. This is not a review of the football program's disciplinary program."