Wide receiver Dixon released from Rutgers

Rutgers University dismissed a highly regarded football recruit Monday, shortly after ESPN raised questions about the player's criminal record.

Reggie Dixon, a wide receiver/running back from Plainfield High School in New Jersey, and a two-time state sprint champion, recently signed a letter of intent to play for Rutgers. But Dixon was found guilty last summer of two counts of aggravated sexual assault.

According to copies of court records obtained by ESPN, Dixon twice assaulted his stepsister -- a non-blood relative -- the first time when he was 12 and she was 9, then again when she was 14 and he was 17.

Dixon went on trial in June, when he was 18, but was tried as a juvenile, found guilty and sentenced in August to register under Megan's Law, undergo psychological evaluations and pay restitution.

Carla Venson, the victim's mother, told ESPN that Rutgers coach Greg Schiano told her it was his decision to accept Dixon. When contacted on Monday, Schiano said Rutgers was aware of the conviction when Dixon was recruited, but more details recently emerged.

Said Schiano: "It is in the best interest of all parties involved for Rutgers to release Reggie Dixon from his national letter of intent."

Earlier Monday, Dixon's father, Craig Venson, told ESPN that his son should not be further punished. He says the case is under appeal.

Joe Schad is a national college football reporter for ESPN.