COLLEGE STATION – Wide receiver Kirk Merritt has been dismissed from the Texas A&M football team, according to an athletic department spokesman who confirmed Merritt no longer is listed on the Aggies roster.
Merritt had exposed his genitals to two athletic department tutors in private sessions in about a 24-hour span in the Bright Football Complex last October, and later admitted to as much. His attorney cited a “bad case of jock itch” as Merritt’s defense.
Merritt has pleaded not guilty to two counts of indecent exposure following his arrest last fall. An A&M official said coach Kevin Sumlin is on a plane to Philadelphia for the NFL Draft and couldn’t immediately be reached on Wednesday afternoon.
“It was almost like I wasn’t there, until I got nervous and started to pack up and leave,” one of the victims told the Chronicle earlier this month. “Then (Merritt) just stared at me, which was disconcerting, and made me want to leave even more.”
Merritt’s attorney, Rick Davis, responded to the player’s dismissal with a statement on Wednesday that read in part:
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“Obviously, we are disappointed that the University would remove Kirk from the Texas A&M Football team, apparently in response to recent negative publicity about his charges.”
A&M responded earlier this month by offering a timeline concerning Merritt’s arrest, subsequent suspension and reinstatement on Feb. 1 following the conclusion of an A&M “Student Life Conduct Conference” that is separate from the athletics department.
Merritt, who practiced with the Aggies during spring drills that wrapped up on April 8, is awaiting an arraignment date in the Brazos County Courthouse. The attorney is arguing that Merritt’s actions in front of the two young women in separate tutoring sessions don’t meet the requirements for indecent exposure.
Merritt, a sophomore transfer from Oregon, was expected to earn plenty of playing time this fall for the Aggies after sitting out last season under NCAA transfer rules.
A&M had pointed toward the secretive conduct conference held before an on-campus panel comprised of A&M staff members as the primary reason for Merritt’s return to the football team this winter and spring. Private documents obtained by the Chronicle concerning the hearing claim Merritt’s actions do “not fit the rule of sexual exploitation.”
According to one of the documents the panel concluded, “We believe the vigorous scratching, which is a biological response to a skin condition, led to the exposure of his penis.”