FORT WORTH, Texas (CBS4) – A liberal arts university in Texas has fired its baseball coach after he wrote disparaging comments about recruits from Colorado in an email.
“(Mike Jeffcoat) was separated from the university due to the discriminatory remarks contained in an email to a potential recruit from the state of Colorado and another factor,” Texas Wesleyan University President Frederick Slabach said in a news conference on Thursday morning.
That other factor was an unrelated National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics rule violation that was recently discovered, Slabach said.
Jeffcoat emailed a Denver-area high schooler and said his team no longer recruits from Colorado because he says too many past athletes from Colorado have failed drug tests.
The Cherokee Trail High School student, Gavin Bell, told CBS4 on Wednesday he got the unexpected email after he reached out to the coach looking for any insight into their recruitment process.
In the email, Jeffcoat thanked Bell for his interest in the program, but said, “In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test. We have decided to not take a chance on student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians.”
Jeffcoat was presumably referring to Colorado’s legal marijuana laws, which voters passed more than five years ago.
“I didn’t know what to think to be honest,” said Bell, who shared the email with his teacher and coaches, and it was then shared much more widely across the internet.
In his news conference, Slabach issued a direct apology to Bell.
“I want to make sure he knows that the comments contained in that email absolutely do not express the values of this university and we would love to have Gavin here as a student,” Slabach said.
Denver sports radio host Darren McKee, of 104.3 The Fan, first reported on the email Bell received.
“The decision to fire Jeffcoat was swift and the right decision,” he tweeted after Slabach’s news conference.
Slabach said his university “does not tolerate discrimination.”
“We value inclusiveness. We value education, critical thinking and supporting student athletes who are here for the love of the game.”