NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma freshman running back Joe Mixon, the school's top recruit, was charged with misdemeanor assault on Friday, accused of knocking a woman unconscious with a punch that also broke several bones in her face.
Mixon has not participated in team activities since July 25, when Norman police say the incident occurred at a local restaurant.
On signing day, Mixon was listed as Rivals.com's No. 1 running back and 247sports.com's No. 1 all-purpose back. As a senior at Freedom High School in Oakley, California, he gained nearly 2,100 yards and scored 30 touchdowns from scrimmage.
Oklahoma has not made a decision on Mixon's status.
"The University of Oklahoma understands that charges have now been filed against Joe Mixon based upon an investigation by local law enforcement agencies," athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement. "Under its policies, the university must independently evaluate student conduct matters and will review the facts as part of its internal process. At an appropriate time, the university will determine Mixon's status."
According to a probable cause affidavit released by the Cleveland County District Attorney's office, the alleged victim told police Mixon directed a homosexual slur at her friend and there was an argument. The affidavit said that according to surveillance video, the woman then pushed Mixon and Mixon lunged at her. The woman then slapped Mixon in the face, and he reacted by punching her in the face. She fell onto a table, then to the ground, and Mixon then left the scene.
The woman suffered a fractured jaw, broken cheek bone, fractured sinus and "fractured orbit' near her left eye.
Mixon's lawyer, Kevin Finlay, said in a statement that he felt the woman should have been charged with assault and battery.
"While we recognize that Joe has not been charged with the crime of assault and battery, we are still very disappointed that the Cleveland County District Attorney's office chose to charge Joe with a misdemeanor for grossly disturbing peace or public decency," he said. "As we have maintained from the beginning, it is our belief that Joe reacted instinctively after being racially slurred and physically assaulted by a highly intoxicated young woman and her male friend. We strongly disagree with the series of events as portrayed by Norman PD. Justice knows no gender bias and we do not believe that Joe's actions were criminal in nature."
Castiglione told The Associated Press earlier this month that athletes need to be careful while they are out.
"People are people," he said. "There are varying levels of maturity, varying levels of cultural experience. There are varying levels of discipline in their decision-making process. Sometimes, they find themselves in situations that are very unfortunate — not always their fault. They have to understand there are forces sometimes that create challenges they just have to be better prepared to handle. They didn't initiate. They didn't ask for. They may have even tried to avoid. Sometimes, people around them are persistent. That doesn't give them a license to make a bad decision."
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops didn't address the situation directly on Aug. 2's media day, but cautioned those who are trying to paint the entire program in a negative light based on the incident.
"I've been here 16 years," Stoops said. "There's a long track record of what we've done here. Reflect on that."
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.