NMSU basketball player suspended after 'embarrassing' the athletics program


One of New Mexico State University's star basketball players has been suspended after allegations surfaced that he beat up another student at a party.

Senior forward Tyrone Watson is listed as a suspect on a Las Cruces police report dated Jan. 26.

A Las Cruces police officer wrote in the report he was at Memorial Medical Center when a nurse told him about an assault victim in another room.

The officer wrote that he went to investigate and found Miguel Rascon, 19. The office wrote, "Miguel Rascon was lying on the hospital bed with a large laceration to the right side of his face and the right side of his face was covered in blood."

According to the report, Rascon told the officer he was dancing with a girl at a party on the 1000 block of Maple Street when a man choked him from the front. Rascon told the officer he blacked out and woke up on the floor.

Witnesses later identified that man to police as Watson. Witnesses told police Watson got jealous when he saw Rascon dancing with his girlfriend.

Members of Rascon's family told ABC-7 he suffered multiple fractures on his head and other cuts and bruises.

New Mexico State head men's basketball coach Marvin Menzies on Thursday announced that Watson has been indefinitely suspended from competition for a violation of team rules, starting with Thursday's game against Texas State.

"Our team rules are strict and they exist for the betterment of the university, the basketball team and the players," said Menzies.  "Tyrone Watson has been a phenomenal student-athlete in our program for four years, so obviously these allegations are extremely shocking and disturbing.  Our investigation is ongoing.  At the same time, we take allegations seriously and we are sensitive to the nature of the injuries sustained by the individual in this matter."

NMSU athletics director Dr. McKinley Boston told ABC-7 he supports coach Menzies' decision.

"At this moment, he's embarrassed the program. He didn't act as a responsible citizen of the program. Coach Menzies asks all his players to make good judgments about where they are and who they associate with, and behavior that is not poorly reflected on the team of the university. That's what he is in violation of at the moment," Boston said.

Boston also said it was a stupid mistake by Watson.

"It was an incident that was a severe, as I understand, punch and not a fight and not a beating as people refer to it, but at the same time, Tyrone is a big guy and the guy that he hit is not a big guy. Like I said, we're terribly sorry for Tyrone's judgment and hope the young man recovers," Boston said.

Boston said Watson does not have any history of behavior like this.

"Obviously we're all disappointed in his judgment, and he acted inappropriately. We're extremely sorry for the victim. Is it in character? Based upon history, no. This is the first incident that's he's been involved in in the four and a half years that he's been here," said Boston.

Boston also told ABC-7 there hasn't been an incident like this within the athletics program in about a year.

"We have an isolated unfortunate incident by a good young student-athlete who just made a dumb mistake, and unfortunately his hormones and his jealousy got in the way," he said.

No charges have been filed against Watson, but Rascon's family told ABC-7 they met with police to press charges against Watson.

Boston said if Watson is charged with a misdemeanor, coach Menzies will continue to be in charge of his discipline. However, if he is charged with a felony, Boston said he will automatically be suspended from the team. Boston said Watson could appeal that suspension.

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