Iowa defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie (No. 56, above) nearly became a tragic combination of two of this nation’s hot button topics, according to a post on his Facebook page.
Ekakitie says he was in an Iowa City park playing Pokemon Go when officers approached him with guns drawn, suspecting him of being involved in a nearby bank robbery. Ekakitie wrote his profile — a large black man dressed in black clothes — led five Iowa City officers to approach him, but the Hawkeye defender did not hear their approach due to having headphones in his ears — which led the officers to draw their guns. Ekakitie wrote police searched him before letting him go.
“My pockets were checked, my backpack was opened up and searched carefully, and I was asked to lift up my shirt while they searched my waistband,” Ekakitie wrote. “Not once did they identify themselves to me as Iowa City Police officers, but with four gun barrels staring me in the face, I wouldn’t dare question the authority of the men and woman in front of me. This is what happened from my point of view.”
Iowa DE says he was held at gunpoint by police while playing Pokemon Go pic.twitter.com/7BHFQ4GT0p
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 24, 2016
Sgt. Jorey Bailey confirmed Iowa City offers stopped Ekakitie, and an Iowa spokesman confirmed Ekakitie’s version of events.
“In this situation, what the media would fail to let people know is that the suspect had his headphones in the entire time the Police Officers approached him initially,” Ekakitie wrote. “The suspect had actually just pulled up to the park because he was playing a newly popular Game called Pokémon Go. The suspect didn’t realize that there were four cops behind him because his music was blaring in his ears. The suspect had reached into his pockets, for something which was his phone, but for all the cops could have known, he was reaching for a gun. The suspect could very well become another statistic on this day.
“I am not one to usually rant on Facebook or anywhere else, but with all of the crazy things that have been happening in our world these past couple of weeks it is hard to stay silent. I am thankful to be alive.”
A senior from Brampton, Ontario, Canada, Ekakitie recorded 13 tackles in 12 appearances last season.
Georgia Southern has vacated three wins from the 2013-14 seasons stemming from a two-year investigation into its football program, the school has announced.
The violations occurred when the Eagles played an ineligible athlete in three games over those seasons. The wins came against Savannah State and St. Francis in 2013 and Louisiana-Monroe in 2014. Georgia Southern’s 2014 Sun Belt championship will not be impacted by the ruling.
“While it is disappointing to vacate these three victories, we get to put this chapter behind us,” Georgia Southern AD Tom Kleinlein said in a statement. “The student-athletes on this year’s football team, and teams moving forward, are not affected by the NCAA’s ruling and our goals are still in front of us. In addition to graduating student-athletes and developing leaders, we look forward to competing for conference championships and bowl berths this season and in the future.
“Compliance and academic integrity are of the utmost importance here at Georgia Southern; we will continue to reinforce these values and ensure that our department is operating in a manner that consistently upholds the proud tradition of this University.”
The player — who was unnamed — will also have his statistics removed from the record books, while Jeff Monken will have his Georgia Southern win total reduced by two and Willie Fritz by one. Each coach has since moved on to a new school; Monken is at Army and Fritz at Tulane.
While not preferred, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has said his conference would be open to football-only membership as it pursues expansion.
That would work for BYU, too.
“We’re obviously open to listening to what they want to do. We’re going to go through this process with an open mind to listen to what they have to say,” BYU AD Tom Holmoe told ESPN.
A football-only addition of the Cougars would solve a number of problems for the Big 12:
1) The conference is starting a championship game in 2017 and, as an independent, BYU would be available immediately. Holding a title game with 10 teams is a clunky option the conference would prefer to avoid if possible, so the Cougars’ immediate availability helps both sides.
2) Adding only BYU’s football program eliminates the question of what to do with the Cougars’ no-Sundays policy.
3) Stretching a conference from Morgantown to Provo is, obviously, geographically challenging. Sending your football team across two time zones is one thing, asking your women’s basketball team to do the same on a Wednesday and turn around and play again on Saturday is something else entirely. It may serve both parties well to keep the Cougars’ Olympic sports in the West Coast Conference.
However, if the Big 12 is interested in bringing BYU aboard as an all-sports member, Holmoe is confident the two sides can make it work. After all, they’ve done it in the WAC, the Mountain West and now the WCC.
“I believe that’s something that can be worked out,” he said. “We’ve been in a lot of leagues through the years, and we’ve been able to work it out.
“There would be a difference in the Big 12 because that would be a Power 5 conference. They’re going to ask questions. We’ll have our solutions, creative ideas of what we can do. We’re going to do everything we can.”
Florida linebacker Cristian Garcia stopped a sexual assault behind a popular Gainesville bar, according to a police report.
Garcia told police he was taking out the trash early Thursday morning at 101 Cantina, where he works security, and witnessed a couple having sex by the dumpsters. Upon closer inspection, he says, Garcia noticed the woman was unconscious. He and a coworker approached the man, a 34-year old named Christian Shaw, who managed to escape but has since been arrested on sexual battery charges.
“I was taking out the garbage, and I saw the man pressing the woman up against the Dumpster. At first the guy said she was his girlfriend, but about five seconds later I realized the girl was unconscious,” Garcia told the Gainesville Sun. “I turned around and pulled the guy by the shoulder and said ‘get off.’ That pretty much ended the situation then. He was intoxicated and attempted to throw some punches, but he slipped and busted his face on the wall.”
The Sun notes that police video shows “the victim was mentally and physically unable to give consent due to her level of intoxication.”
Garcia is a walk-on from Miami who appeared in one game in 2015.