Texas Wesleyan fired baseball coach Mike Jeffcoat for sending an email saying the school doesn't recruit players from Colorado due to that state's legalized marijuana.
Jeffcoat was fired not only for the email, but also for "NAIA violations under his watch," university president Frederick G. Slabach told reporters Thursday.
"This university and its athletic program does not discriminate on the basis of the public policy of any state," Slabach said. "We look at the individual student. We care about those students."
Gavin Bell, an 18-year-old senior at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colorado, received the email from Jeffcoat, a former major-leaguer who has coached at the private Fort Worth university since 2002.
The email, which was confirmed by the school and has gone viral on social media, read as follows:
"Thanks for the interest in our program. Unfortunately, we are not recruiting players from the state of Colorado. In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test. We have made a decision to not take a chance on student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians. Best of luck wherever you decide to play."
Bell told Denver TV station KCNC he didn't know what to think after receiving the email.
"I've sent about 30 to 50 emails to coaches and some get back with me and some don't," he said.
Bell said it's unfair to punish him for legislation that was passed more than five years ago before he was even able to vote.
"That's not what I'm about," he told KCNC. "I'm about playing baseball and getting grades in school."
Bell shared the email with his teacher and coaches and one of them decided to share it publicly.
On Wednesday, Texas Wesleyan had issued a response saying they were aware of Jeffcoat's email and that "the comments he made are in no way a reflection of Texas Wesleyan University, its values or its recruiting practices."
Jeffcoat pitched for 10 seasons in the majors, including six with the Texas Rangers, before retiring in 1994.
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