DENVER —An Aurora, Colorado high school athlete was turned away from a Texas university recently after the school’s head baseball coach told him the school no longer recruits Colorado athletes because of past issues with drug testing.
The Cherokee Trail High School student expressed interest in attending Texas Wesleyan University in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on a baseball scholarship but was rejected in an email sent to the student by Head Baseball Coach Mike Jeffcoat.
Jeffcoat writes, “Thanks for the interest in our program. Unfortunately, we are not recruiting players from the state of Colorado. In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test. We have made a decision to not take a chance on Student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians. Best of Luck wherever you decide to play.”
Although not explicitly mentioned in the email, Jeffcoat is likely referring to Colorado's recreational marijuana laws.
The university said it is aware of the email and is investigating the matter. John Veilleux, a spokesperson for Texas Wesleyan University, said the letter in no way reflects TWU, its values or recruiting practices.
Veilleux declined to say if previous Colorado athletes had trouble passing drug tests.
The school released the following statement:
We are aware of the email sent by our baseball coach, and the comments he made are in no way a reflection of Texas Wesleyan University, its values or its recruiting practices.
This is a personnel matter and it is currently under investigation. It is our University policy to not discuss personnel matters, but we want to reiterate that this email does not reflect our values and we do not condone discrimination. This includes discrimination on the basis of race, color, origin, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability or sexuality; or the political legislation of one’s home state. We are committed to providing an inclusive campus for all of our students, faculty, staff, visitors, potential students and their families.
Texas Wesleyan has a long tradition of excellence in athletics and we are committed to recruiting student-athletes who will excel at our university. Like the NAIA’s core values, we are focused on building and recruiting champions of character.
The Aurora teen's former baseball coach, Alan Dyer, said he has having trouble wrapping his head around the Texas coach's explanation. He said the teen is an outstanding athlete whose never had behavior issues.
“He has never been in trouble. He’s a leader and a good student,” said Alan Dyer, who coached the player for three years and saw the email from the Texas coach. “It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like that before, and it’s hard to believe. It’s unfortunate that this would happen to such a good kid.”
Dyer says the student’s family has roots in Texas and Oklahoma, and that was why he was interested in Texas Weslyan.