University of Miami football players Alexander Figueroa, 20, and JaWand Blue, 20, were arrested this morning on charges that they sexually assaulted a juvenile victim on campus on Saturday. According to police, both have admitted to the incident.
They now both face charges of sexual battery on a physically helpless victim, and Figueroa also faces a separate charge of possession of a stolen/fictitious driver's license.
The players, both sophomore linebackers, have been permanently dismissed from the team and barred from campus.
Figueroa and Blue allegedly either administered an intoxicating substance to the girl that left her physically helpless or were aware that someone else had. They then took her back to a dorm room in Pearson Hall and raped her.
The victim then contacted University of Miami police. Coral Gables police investigated and made the arrests.
While it's all too common that incidents of alleged sexual assault by football players see the school, team, and often fans rally around the suspect, the University of Miami was swift in its reaction and condemnation of Figueroa and Blue.
"Earlier today, I permanently dismissed JaWand Blue and Alexander Figueroa from the UM football team," said Athletic Director Blake James said in a statement. "The University has also suspended the students from school and barred them from all campus facilities while the University conducts an internal investigation and continues to cooperate with local law enforcement.
"Any allegation of a sexual assault is extremely serious, and the University will not tolerate conduct that threatens the sanctity and safety of our students and our campus."
UM President Donna Shalala has spoken to the victim and released her own statement.
"The safety and welfare of our students is fundamental to our mission as a university. We have zero tolerance for sexual assault and gender-based violence," read Shalala's statement. "There is no confusion about our responsibility as a university: We will fully and compassionately support the victim of sexual assault. I have spoken to her myself and reassured her of our full support."
Shalala added she expected the internal investigation to be concluded swiftly, and that the school will cooperate fully with police.