Several football players named persons of interest in weekend assault

REBECCA WHITE, Evergreen assistant news editor

Police have confirmed between five and twelve football players were involved in a possible felony assault at a party over the weekend.

The altercation occurred early Saturday morning in the Greek row area after football players allegedly started fireworks in the backyard in a group of people and were asked to leave the party, said Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant.

Four WSU students, besides the football players, were involved in the fight. Alex Rodriguez, a 21-year-old psychology major, was hospitalized with a broken jaw. Another student was hospitalized with a concussion and the other two suffered minor injuries.

WSU Director of Athletics Bill Moos released a statement on Monday saying the university and WSU Athletics are cooperating with the investigation and gathering and providing information to the police.

Due to the victims’ injuries, assault charges will most likely be raised to a felony level, which could mean thousands of dollars in fines and a year or more in jail, Tennant said.

He said this assault case was complicated because of the number of people involved. Tennant said they had been cooperating with athletics and football departments to get in touch with players and a few members of the football team who confirmed WSU players were at the party.

“I don’t anticipate any arrests this week due to the volume of people we have to talk to,” Tennant said. “I’m hopeful that in two or three weeks we can hold somebody accountable for their actions, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

In his statement Moos said WSU Athletics is committed to being transparent and has high standards for the conduct of WSU student-athletes. He also said WSU Athletics was in constant communication with university leadership, including the Office of the President. The full statement is included below.

Tennant said police have two videos that witnesses at the party posted on Snapchat. He said any additional videos or photos taken by students at the party, before or after the assault, would greatly aid in the investigation by establishing who was there and a creating a clearer picture of events.

“I think you just have to realize that it’s not the whole WSU football team involved, we’re just dealing with a handful of people,” Tennant said. “People have to be patient and let the investigation take its course.”

One of the victims, Alex Rodriguez, posted on Facebook that he had undergone a successful facial reconstruction surgery that involved titanium plates in his face and his mouth being wired closed. He will also be restricted to a liquids-only diet for the next six weeks. A Go Fund Me for Rodriguez’s medical expenses has brought in $2,290 of its $8,000 goal.

Statement from Washington State University Director of Athletics Bill Moos regarding last weekend’s incident:

“In regards to the events that took place over the past weekend, the university was made aware of the situation shortly after the incident occurred. It is our understanding there is a thorough investigation underway by local law enforcement and we will cooperate fully as we take these matters seriously. In addition, facts are being gathered within the athletic department in order to provide assistance. We have high expectations for the conduct of WSU student-athletes, and treat any alleged allegations with the utmost transparency. The WSU athletic staff is in constant communication with the Office of the President and the Office of Student Life to ensure that university leadership is aware of the continuing investigation by local law enforcement. We will refrain from further comment until the findings of the investigation are complete.”