Legal problems have landed at the doorstep of West Virginia University and its football program once again, as four of its players were cited for the possession of marijuana at a residence hall on campus.
According to WVU Police, Xavier Preston, Yodny Cajuste, Jaleel Fields and Dravon Henry were all cited at Lincoln Hall, part of the Evansdale campus, earlier this week.
Fields, 19, and Cajuste, 18, are both redshirt freshmen. Fields is a defensive lineman and Cajuste is an offensive lineman. Henry, 19, and Preston, 18, are both sophomores.
Preston played in nine games and registered two total tackles as a linebacker for the Mountaineers. Henry earned some national recognition this season at the safety position, racking up 45 total tackles and raking in two interceptions, one of which he would return for a touchdown.
“As with all students, the incident also will be turned over to student conduct at the University,” team spokesperson Mike Montoro said Thursday.
Dana Holgorsen didn’t have much to say about the incident.
“We are aware of the situation, and the matter will be handled internally,” he said.
Corey Farris, dean of Students and director of Housing, said this is a very systematic process, with a routine series of steps.
”The one part that falls under my area is the student conduct part and the residence hall part,” Farris said. “We will follow our normal procedures and our normal processes for any student that violates our rules, whether it’s in the residence halls or off-campus.”
“Depending on what comes out once we have information from the police, as well as our own as we talk to the individual students, (that) will sort of guide us on what sanctions are imposed and things like that eventually, if they’re found responsible for violating the University’s policies.
Farris said students are treated equally in cases like this , regardless if they are student athletes or not.
“That’s a routine process for us. There’s no special treatment or anything like that,” Farris said.
But as in any case, there’s no telling what disciplinary action will be taken with the players until the specifics are released.
“Anything can happen,” Farris said. “Until we get the details on quantities and things like that, anything from what we would call deferred removal (can happen), and that can involve some educational counseling and programming through WELLWVU and other areas. It can also mean that there may be community service involved.
“Depending on if they are large quantities and things like that – that can certainly cause for a student to be removed and kicked out of all University housing.”
Farris stressed no matter what happens for the players legally, the disciplinary action through the school is completely separate.
”The rules and regulations in the student conduct process is that (incidents) on campus are independent of what goes on in the courtroom downtown,” Farris said. “On campus, (we need) something called the preponderance of evidence. The courts downtown require much more to prove someone did something.”
This isn’t the first time WVU has seen marijuana possession in the football headlines, and it’s not the first time a player has made the news for something other than school and athletics.
Last year, TCU faced a series of marijuana incidents that led to disciplinary action. In 2012, four TCU players were caught in a drug sting, arrested and dismissed from the team. In February 2014, wide receiver Ladarius Brown, who was tied for the most receptions during the previous season, was kicked off the team as a result of marijuana-related charges. Two months later, star wide receiver Brandon Carter was arrested on charges of the same nature and would end up being dropped from the roster due to academic issues.
During last season, WVU cornerback Daryl Worley faced a misdemeanor assault charge after an incident at Lux Nightclub. Video surveillance footage showed Worley having an argument with a woman, in which he allegedly grabbed the woman’s throat and pushed her down.
Following the incident, Worley was suspended from the team.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported if the players do not contest the citations, each will be placed on probation, and each will have to pay court costs.