Lubbock, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Texas Tech has reinstated defensive back Nigel Bethel II after he was dismissed from the team less than three weeks ago.
Bethel, who is regarded as one of Texas Tech's highest-rated recruits in its upcoming freshman class, was kicked off the team for punching women's basketball player Amber Battle and breaking her jaw during a pickup basketball game in late June.
"This is an unfortunate situation with a unique set of circumstances and there are no winners," said Texas Tech director athletics Kirby Hocutt. "Every decision related to this case has been the right one at that particular time based upon our principles, student-athlete code of conduct and team rules. As I continued to work with Coach Kingsbury and Coach Whitaker, we looked at the totality of the situation and have arrived at this decision. Two talented young people made a mistake, have shown remorse and learned some very valuable life lessons."
Bethel also issued a statement through the school's website.
"I am thankful for the opportunity to come back to Texas Tech," said Bethel. "I take full responsibility for my actions and I would like to let everyone know that this won't happen again. It's not who I am and I am sorry for the embarrassment this has caused. I want to thank Amber Battle for accepting my apology and for coming forward to say that I deserved a second chance. I would like to thank everyone at Texas Tech, including the coaches, for believing in me and giving me a second chance to show my ability and to receive an education from Texas Tech."
Bethel is allowed to return to the team, but is suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season.
Battle, who led the Lady Raiders with 16.4 points per game this past season, is suspended for the entire month of November for initiating contact during the incident.