Admin benches Haynes indefinitely
By Sabrina Carinci
The fate of Mustang wide receiver Preston Haynes is still up in the air.
He's the football player charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm for allegedly hitting a first-year engineering student before the Homecoming game on Oct. 2.
Although still a part of and supported by his team, Haynes did not play in Saturday's game against the University of Toronto.
Mustang coach Larry Haylor refused to comment on why Haynes did not participate in the Saturday game. "For me to comment on the matter would be wrong," he said.
Peter Mercer, VP-administration at Western who made the decision to pull Haynes from the roster, said he and Darwin Semotiuk, chair of intercollegiate athletics, had concluded that under the circumstances, it would not be appropriate for Haynes to play football until the matter was resolved.
Mercer said he's looking into the possibility of other football players being involved in the incident.
He noted this as a factor in leading to the decision to not let Haynes play. Mercer said he is still actively investigating the incident and intends to find out if there were others involved. "My expectation is that I'll find out the truth," he said.
Murray Neilson, Haynes' lawyer, said he was disappointed by Mercer's decision to keep Haynes from playing football. "I was told [last Thursday] by Dr. Mercer that Preston would play on the football team," he said. "He changed his mind [on Friday] after talking to Darwin Semotiuk."
"At the time I spoke to people on Thursday, there was a police investigation at the time, the status quo would be recognized," Mercer said, regarding his change of mind.
Insp. Bob Earle of the University Police Department, said the police are not pursuing any other suspects and will not, unless Mercer finds there were others involved. "We're dealing with the situation as it occurred," he said.
According to Neilson, Haynes was defined by both his school work and football. "He's completely devastated by this. He hasn't had a chance to tell his side of the story," he said.
A court date has not yet been set.