Sunday, October 8, 2006
Father: SMU QB was suspended for punching stalker
ESPN.com news services
SMU quarterback Justin Willis, who has been suspended from the team indefinitely for a violation of team rules, was given his suspension for punching a male student in an altercation early Friday, Willis' father told the Dallas Morning News on Sunday.
Samuel Willis claimed that his son had been stalked and harassed by another male student for almost a year leading up to Friday morning's encounter. According to the elder Willis, the other student showed up at a team gathering at an off-campus residence and would not leave when asked. At that point, Justin Willis "snapped," punched the other student and had to be physically restrained by his teammates.
"Justin lasted a year, put up with this for a year," Samuel Willis told the Dallas Morning News. "I don't care about football at this point in time. My child's life and reputation is scarred. Something needs to be done about it."
Samuel Willis said that Justin told SMU coach Phil Bennett of the problem with the other student last spring, but nothing was done about it.
SMU spokesman Kent Best confirmed to the paper that there was an altercation involving three students early Friday and that Willis' suspension came as a result of the investigation into what happened.
SMU police are continuing to investigate the incident, the paper reported, but, according to the information Best had, no charges had yet been filed.
Samuel and Justin Willis were scheduled to meet with Bennett and athletic director Steve Orsini Monday morning, the paper reported.
Willis, a redshirt freshman, did not play in SMU's 24-21 loss to UTEP on Saturday. Junior college transfer Corey Slater started in Willis' absence, going 10-for-20 for 132 yards with 2 TDs and 3 INTs.
Willis had led SMU (3-2, 1-0 Conference USA) to a three-game winning streak. He is 80-for-118 passing for 841 yards, and his 12 touchdown passes are the most for a Mustang quarterback since 1996. He also has rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns.