The next move belongs to Mixon

Will homesick freshman transfer to a California school?

     Oklahoma freshman running back Joe Mixon was at the Cleveland County District Courthouse yesterday, but where was he today? And where will he be tomorrow?

     On Monday, OU president David Boren announced he had accepted the recommendation of athletic director Joe Castiglione and Sooners football coach Bob Stoops to suspend Mixon from the team for the entire 2014 season.

     Mixon appeared in the Cleveland County District Courthouse and pleaded not guilty to one count of “an act resulting in gross injury” in a 2:30 a.m. incident at Pickleman’s Gourmet Café on July 25, just 2 1/2 hours after Mixon had turned 18 years old.

     As a result of being charged, Mixon will be excluded from all football activities for the upcoming season and has been removed from the OU team roster.

     Boren, Castiglione and Stoops undoubtedly gave Mixon a swift kick in the butt yesterday, but they didn’t punt him out of school.

     Though Mixon is not on the roster, not on the sidelines, not at practice and not in uniform, he can remain on scholarship as an OU student if so chooses. Mixon officially enrolled on July 2.

     “With appropriate conditions, he will be permitted to continue as a student, eligible for financial aid,” Castiglione and Stoops said in a joint statement released Monday. “As the university has demonstrated in the past, we are committed to winning the right way. As an example to others, OU sets the highest possible standards for its student athletes, coaches and staff.”

     Whether Mixon returns to the Sooners for the 2015 season is yet to be determined. The 2014 season could be used as Mixon’s redshirt season, which would give him four years of eligibility remaining, starting with the 2015 season.

     Since the incident, Mixon has been at everyone’s mercy. He was at the mercy of Cleveland County prosecutors, at the mercy of team and school officials and at the mercy of his lawyer, Kevin Finlay.

     When it comes to deciding whether or not to remain at OU, presumably Mixon is not at anyone’s mercy. That decision is his to make. The ball finally is in Mixon's hands. The next move is his.

     If Mixon chooses to move on, he could relocate to a school he considered as a five-star recruit out of Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif.

     During the recruiting process, Mixon took official visits to California (Sept. 13), Florida (Sept. 20), Washington (Sept. 27), OU (Oct. 4), Wisconsin (Oct. 12) and Florida State (Nov. 1). He also took unofficial visits to UCLA (April 27 and Nov. 22) and USC (April 27). A timeline of Mixon’s recruitment can be seen here, via 247sports.

     Days before the incident, Mixon tweeted he was lonely and homesick, which could put Cal, UCLA or USC atop the relocation list since Oakley is 40 miles east of Berkeley.

     If Mixon does chose to withdraw from OU, he must do so by Aug. 29.



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