The punishment Joe Mixon received from Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops for punching a female student as a freshman in 2014 would no longer suffice had the incident happened today, Stoops said Wednesday.
Mixon punched OU student Amelia Molitor in the early-morning hours at a campus deli more than two years ago, and Stoops imposed a season-long suspension from the football program. Speaking Wednesday for the first time since the public release of a video showing the incident, Stoops said a dismissal from the program would now be the only possible response.
"Two-and-half years later, dismissal is really the only thing that's possible. A guy having an opportunity to rehabilitate and have some kind of discipline and come back from it is really not there anymore," Stoops said, according to the Tulsa World. "That message goes down even to the high-school level, that these things are just unacceptable to any degree, and there's no recovering. It never has been acceptable. What I'm saying (is), there's no recovering from these incidents, really anymore."
Molitor suffered facial bone fractures requiring surgery, and Mixon was charged with acts resulting in gross injury, a misdemeanor. Following a plea agreement, Mixon served one year of probation, 100 hours of community service, and underwent counseling. After most elements of a civil suit Molitor brought were dismissed by a judge last month, Mixon issued a public apology in which he admitted striking Molitor.
Asked if a one-year suspension sent the wrong message about how the school views violence against women, Stoops said: "Hopefully not. But in the end, I'm sure to some degree it does, and I regret that. At the time, we felt it was significant and strong punishment. Some people that have seen the entire thing at that time agree, and others didn't. I understand that, and I always knew that would be something that everybody would debate."
After his suspension, Mixon returned to the OU football team for the 2015 season, and has since developed into one of college football's top rushers. Mixon (6-1, 225 pounds) ran for 1,183 yards this season on 168 carries, and as a third-year sophomore, he could apply for early eligibility for the 2017 NFL Draft.