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Fien Arrested on Alcohol Charge During Texas Trip

January 22, 1992|JEFF RILEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Royal High quarterback Ryan Fien, the Southern Section Division II player of the year, spent nine hours in an Austin, Tex., jail early Sunday after being arrested as a minor in possession of alcohol.

According to a police report, Fien, who was in Austin on a recruiting trip to the University of Texas and gave an oral commitment to the Longhorns on Sunday, was handed a drink by a Longhorn fan in a downtown bar Saturday night. Shortly thereafter, an agent with the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission arrested Fien, fellow recruit Cody Danaher of Corpus Christi, Tex., and freshman offensive lineman Tim Crain as minors in possession of alcohol--a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of as much as $200.

Fien, 17, said Tuesday that he became a victim of circumstance when the fan, whom Fien described as a "loud-mouth drunk," insisted on buying a drink for him.

"He said, 'Hey, you're that quarterback from California. I'd like to buy you a drink,' " Fien said. "I told him I didn't drink, but he kept insisting. He shoved it at me and I grabbed it because I didn't want it to spill on my leather coat."

According to the Austin American-Statesman, the three minors were incarcerated at the Austin Police Department and were released on their own recognizance at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Fien said Tuesday that he expected to pay the fine.

"It's funny because I've taken trips to schools where there was a lot more drinking going on," said Fien, who also visited Michigan State, Washington and UCLA. "I'm just talking to some girls and 'boom,' I'm in jail. It makes me laugh because I wasn't drinking at all and I was busted."

Hank Fien, Ryan's father, said he initially was so upset by the incident that he considered not allowing Ryan to attend Texas. But he reconsidered when he heard Ryan's account.

"It's annoying because your son goes on a (recruiting) trip and the next thing you hear is that he's in jail," he said. "But it didn't bother me at all once I heard the story. If (Ryan's arrest) had anything to do with the players, the coaches, or the school, he wouldn't have decided to commit there."

Recently hired Texas Coach John Mackovic, who visited the Fiens in Simi Valley on Tuesday night, refused comment. "He said it's just one those wrong-place-in-the-wrong-time things," Hank Fien said.

Royal Coach Gene Uebelhardt said he believed Fien's version of the events. "Ryan is one of the most morally sound players in the Royal football program and his honesty in this particular situation is beyond dispute," Uebelhardt said.

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