Nigel Bethel, Amber Battle Incident: Tracking Investigation at Texas Tech

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2014

Texas Tech's Amber Battle (12) picks up a loose ball at mid court during an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Updates from Wednesday, July 16

Texas Tech announced they have reinstated football player Nigel Bethel, who remains suspended for 25% of the season:

This is an unfortunate situation with a unique set of circumstances and there are no winners," said Kirby Hocutt, Director of Athletics. "Every decision related to this case has been the right one at that particular time based upon our principles, student-athlete code of conduct and team rules. As I continued to work with Coach Kingsbury and Coach Whitaker, we looked at the totality of the situation and have arrived at this decision. Two talented young people made a mistake, have shown remorse and learned some very valuable life lessons.

The announcement provides a statement from Bethel:

I am thankful for the opportunity to come back to Texas Tech," said Bethel. "I take full responsibility for my actions and I would like to let everyone know that this won't happen again. It's not who I am and I am sorry for the embarrassment this has caused. I want to thank Amber Battle for accepting my apology and for coming forward to say that I deserved a second chance. I would like to thank everyone at Texas Tech, including the coaches, for believing in me and giving me a second chance to show my ability and to receive an education from Texas Tech.

Battle, who will also miss 25% of her basketball season, commented on the decision:

I'm relieved that Nigel is receiving a second chance because I believe in second chances," said Battle. "We were both at fault in this situation and I believe our punishment should be equal. This is a good opportunity for us to learn from our mistakes and I think we both have. Hopefully now we can move forward and focus on helping our teams compete at the highest level. 

EverythingLubbock.com posted surveillance video of the incident involving Bethel and Battle:

Original Text

Police are currently investigating an incident at the Texas Tech campus, in which parties allege incoming football recruit Nigel Bethel punched women's basketball player Amber Battle in the face during an altercation at the school's recreation center.

Battle is said to have suffered a broken bone in her face that will require surgery, per Sarah Rafique and Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Details are still emerging, but Texas Tech has dismissed Bethel, per a statement from the school (via associate athletics director Blayne Beal):

Nigel Bethel II, a Texas Tech football student-athlete, has been dismissed from the team due to his role in an incident at the Texas Tech Student Recreation Center on Saturday, June 28. Texas Tech Athletics has a zero tolerance policy on this type of behavior.

Police are currently investigating the case but are not expected to have a report available until after the weekend.

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"[It] likely won't be ready before Monday," Texas Tech spokesman Chris Cook said.

Williams and Rafique's account alleges that Bethel punched Battle in the face while playing basketball at the rec center. No other specifics of the events that transpired were made available at this time.

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Battle, a rising senior, was Texas Tech's leading scorer and rebounder last season. She averaged 16.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game as one of the few bright spots in a lost campaign for the Lady Raiders program. Texas Tech lost all 18 of its Big 12 games in Candace Whitaker's first season as head coach.

Battle projected as the key cog in the program's comeback effort in 2014-15. The report did not indicate how long she is expected to be sidelined due to the facial surgery.

Credit: 247Sports

Bethel was a 3-star recruit coming out of Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. Listed at 5'9" and 173 pounds, Bethel's quickness and agility off the ball made him one of the Red Raiders' most highly touted acquisitions for this season. He previously committed to the University of Miami before deciding to go to Lubbock.

Bethel has not publicly commented on the incident. The Avalanche-Journal report cited a tweet from Bethel's account that read, "Trouble always seems to find me..." but has since been removed. Battle also posted on social media following the incident asking for prayers.

Neither Whitaker nor football coach Kliff Kingsbury have commented on the incident.

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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