Texas Wesleyan University fired its baseball coach after he refused to recruit players from Colorado because of the state’s permissive marijuana laws.
The school fired Coach Mike Jeffcoat on Thursday following the posting of an email he reportedly sent to a potential recruit in Colorado, Fox4 News reported from Dallas. A Denver radio host, Darren McKee, made the email public on Wednesday.
“Hi Gavin, Thanks for the interest in our program,” Jeffcoat’s message began. “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 not to take a chance on Student-athletes from your state. You can think your liberal politicians. Best of Luck wherever you decide to play.”
Lol THIS really happened. Smh. pic.twitter.com/bF9ywQw15d
— Darren McKee (@dmac1043) February 28, 2018
University President Fred Slabach confirmed the coach sent the email and said they fired Jeffcoat because of his remarks and for violating National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics rules on player eligibility, CBS News reported. Slabach said there were aware of the message before it went public on social media and had been investigating the coach. The school notified the NAIA on Thursday.
The student in question, Cherokee Trail High School senior Gavin Bell told KCNC-TV reporters he thought his dreams of playing baseball at Texas Wesleyan “had gone up in smoke.”
“What does it have to do with anything with me playing baseball because of past encounters and not taking a chance with me,” Bell told the CBS affiliate.
CBS reported that university officials issued a statement before the coach’s firing, stating, “This email does not reflect our values and we do not condone discrimination … including those on the basis of race, color, religion, disability or sexuality; or the political legislation of one’s home state.”
Bell said he did not mean for the coach to be fired. “It was just me talking to my coaches and my loved ones about what do I do with this.”
It appears Bell may get his chance to play ball for Wesleyan after all, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
“I am reaching out to him, hopefully today,” President Slabach told reporters. “If that young man or his family is watching today I want to make sure he knows that the comments contained in that email absolutely do not express the values of this university. And we would love to have Gavin here as a student.”
The email brings the career of former Texas Ranger Jeffcoat who, in his 16 seasons coaching at Wesleyan, amassed the team’s most successful win-loss record of 529-358-1. Jeffcoat retired from Major League Baseball in 1994 and began coaching at Wesleyan in 2002. The Sooner Athletic Conference named Jeffcoat Coach of the Year in 2016.