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Beauregard Sidelined by Injury : College football: Northridge to take no action against offensive lineman accused of attempted murder.

October 06, 1994|STEVE ELLING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NORTHRIDGE — The curious case of Cal State Northridge football player Jonathan Beauregard took another bizarre turn Wednesday when school officials announced that they would take no action against the senior lineman, who stands accused of two counts of attempted murder in San Bernardino.

Beauregard, though, already had managed to sideline himself.

School officials said Beauregard suffered a broken ring finger on his right hand at practice Tuesday night and will be sidelined from two to four weeks.

Had he not been injured, Beauregard would have been allowed to play while his case worked its way through the courts, school officials said.

Beauregard was arrested on the first day of the fall semester, Aug. 29, and was charged with shooting his ex-girlfriend and her male acquaintance outside a San Bernardino bar.

Beauregard, a criminology major who was senior class president at San Bernardino's Cajon High in 1989-90, did not tell his teammates or coaches of the arrest and started at offensive right guard in each of the Matadors' four games.

After waiting two days to make a formal decision on Beauregard's status with the team, the school reasserted its initial stance that students accused of criminal behavior will be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

Northridge Athletic Director Bob Hiegert said that no matter what institutional course of action was plotted, appeasing everyone was impossible.

"People will have their opinions on this," he said. "But a fair trial is a basic right in this country."

The school first was tipped to the charges Friday night. After playing in Saturday's 47-17 victory over Cal State Chico, Beauregard was granted permission to skip practice Monday to tend to personal matters. He rejoined the team Tuesday and was injured during a full-contact blocking drill, Coach Bob Burt said.

Beauregard did not attend practice Wednesday and could not be reached for comment. Burt supported the school's ruling and said Beauregard's fate should be decided in court.

"I'm not a policeman, a judge or a district attorney," Burt said. "I'm a football coach and he's a football player and a student. He deserves the same rights everybody else has."

Hiegert said he could not remember a case of this kind in his tenure as athletic director, which began in 1978. Hiegert, Burt and Ron Kopita, the dean of students, were among a handful of administrators who met at length Wednesday to decide Beauregard's playing status.

Hiegert said the group disregarded disciplinary measures often taken at other universities. UCLA, for example, routinely has suspended athletes accused of serious offenses while the legal process runs its course.

"The policies of those institutions and the policies of those departments are theirs alone," Hiegert said. "I don't think it was a tough decision."

The injury likely will sideline Beauregard until after his arraignment, scheduled for Oct. 19. His status with the team beyond that point has not been determined.

"I won't speculate on what happens then," Hiegert said.

Burt said Beauregard will not travel with the team to its next two games, Saturday at Sonoma State and Oct. 15 at St. Mary's. The team does not take injured players on road trips, he said.

Burt said he was taping an interview with a television station inquiring about Beauregard's status when the player broke the finger. The coach learned of the injury when he walked back onto the practice field moments after the cameraman left the scene.

Burt said senior Eric Thomas will replace Beauregard in the starting lineup. As a bystander, Thomas was shot in the back during the holdup of a fast-food restaurant in South-Central Los Angeles in 1989.

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