NORMAN — Running back Joe Mixon was expected to be an immediate contributor upon his arrival at the University of Oklahoma.
Now, it’ll be at least a year before Mixon can play for the Sooners — if he plays at all — after he was suspended from the football team for a year shortly after pleading not guilty to a misdemeanor during an appearance at the Cleveland County Courthouse.
In a joint statement released by the university, OU athletic director Joe Castiglione and football coach Bob Stoops said: “As the university has demonstrated in the past, we are committed to winning the right way. As an example to others, OU sets the highest possible standards for its student athletes, coaches and staff.”
Mixon was removed from the roster immediately and will be excluded from all team activities during the suspension.
Mixon will be permitted to continue as a student at OU and will still be eligible for financial aid.
Speaking after the Sooners’ practice Monday night, Stoops wouldn’t say much more than in the statement.
“We made a decision here today that was announced, and that’s all I’m going to say about it,” Stoops said.
“I can’t say anything else about it.”
Mixon was in court for his initial appearance for a misdemeanor charge stemming from a July 25 altercation at a Norman restaurant.
Mixon, who was released without posting bail, waived a formal reading of the charge at the hearing, which lasted about 10 minutes.
His next appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 23.
Mixon was charged with one count of an “act resulting in gross injury” after the incident at Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe just north of OU’s campus.
Amelia Rae Molitor, 20, an OU student, alleged Mixon punched her once in the face, resulting in four broken bones.
The probable cause affidavit, citing surveillance video taken of the incident, stated Molitor pushed Mixon and the running back lunged at her, drawing a slap.
Mixon then retaliated with a punch that knocked Molitor into a nearby table and then onto the floor, where she laid motionless as Mixon left the scene, according to the affidavit.
Earlier Monday, University of Oklahoma President David Boren, Castiglione and Stoops met with Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn in Mashburn’s office.
The three declined comment to The Oklahoma Daily as they left.
Mashburn, speaking in a radio interview with WWLS later in the day, said the three met with Mashburn to “make sure they had the whole story.”
At the hearing, Judge Steven Stice ordered neither side to show the surveillance video to anyone not directly involved in the case.
Mixon’s attorney, Kevin Finlay, asked that the order also include law enforcement.
Cleveland County Assistant District Attorney Tyler Box asked for a $1,000 bail, but Stice agreed with Mixon’s attorneys that he should be released on his own recognizance.
“Frankly, your honor, he has never been in a courtroom in his life,” Finlay told Stice during the bail discussion.
Classes at OU began Monday.
Mixon was ordered to have no contact with Molitor.
Mixon, with a pair of stars cut into the hair on the side of his head, spoke just once during the proceeding, quietly answering a question from the judge.
Earlier in the day, Mixon’s attorneys had requested a special arraignment outside of the regularly scheduled 1:30 p.m. misdemeanor arraignments. Stice denied the request.
Before the hearing started, Mixon and his attorneys went to a back room of the courthouse before appearing in front of the judge right at 1:30.
Mixon sat next to his other lawyer, Matt Swain, talking a bit before the proceeding began and fidgeting nervously in his chair.
Mixon has not participated in practice for the Sooners since the incident, which happened a few days before the start of preseason camp.
Mixon’s situation is somewhat comparable to Ryan Broyles’ first year in Norman.
Just before OU’s season opener, Broyles was arrested on a complaint of stealing gasoline.
Broyles, who was expected to contribute immediately, did not play at all in 2007.
He went on to become the all-time Football Bowl Subdivision leader in receptions during four productive seasons with the Sooners.
Broyles, though, was allowed to practice with the team during his absence from games.
Mixon was the No. 1 all-purpose back in the country in the 2014 class by Rivals.com when he committed to the Sooners two days after OU beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in January.
He attended OU’s spring game, spending much of the game signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.