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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

TXST puts winning above morals in signing of de Laura

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On Jan. 17, Texas State officially signed former Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura, who settled a civil lawsuit that stemmed from a 2018 sexual assault case that occurred when de Laura was a juvenile.

De Laura won the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman Player of the Year in 2021, totaling 2,798 yards and 23 touchdowns.

De Laura recorded the third-highest passing yards total in Arizona history in 2022 with 3,685 yards and the sixth highest touchdown pass total with six.

De Laura had a 161 passer rating through four games in 2023, the highest of his career, before he injured his ankle against Stanford on Sept. 23, 2023.

By all means, this is a quarterback at the height of his playing career, only getting better as he gets more and more game experience under his belt.

When looking at the recent first-time bowl game champions, why not add a skill set like de Laura’s to a quarterback room that, at the time of de Laura’s commitment announcement, had lost talent like C.J. Rogers and Malik Hornsby?

With former Bobcat quarterback T.J. Finley announcing his commitment to Western Kentucky on Jan. 22, it seems like de Laura is in line to be starting for the Bobcats next season. More importantly for Texas State, which is adamant about building a winning football program and “winning culture,” de Laura will be their go-to man on the gridiron, and will fill the shoes of Finley who many teammates called a leader.

But the Texas State athletics department and the Texas State coaching staff chose a quarterback who allegedly admitted to second-degree sexual assault as a juvenile, according to a civil lawsuit filed by the victim of the assault on Dec. 2, 2021.

The alleged assault occurred when de Laura and the plaintiff were minors, which means the court records and documents are sealed. The civil lawsuit details the sealed case from the plaintiff’s side.

According to the civil lawsuit, de Laura and Kamoi Latu, his then high school teammate and now a safety at the University of Wisconsin, pled guilty in 2018 to second-degree sexual assault.

After winning a high school championship game in 2018, de Laura texted the victim demanding to know where she was and summoned her to the second floor of a parking garage, according to the civil lawsuit.

The victim met de Laura in the parking garage, where de Laura physically overpowered and forced the victim to have sex with both himself and his teammate, Latu, according to the civil lawsuit.

“Plaintiff was sobbing uncontrollably in fear and anger and Defendant Jayden began choking her to gain cooperation. After Defendant Kamoi ejaculated in her mouth, Defendant Jayden shouted, ‘It’s my turn,’” the civil lawsuit said.

According to the civil lawsuit, under the section labeled “FACTS”, the victim confronted de Laura about the sexual assault over text message. De Laura then admitted that he and Latu sexually assaulted the victim, according to the civil lawsuit.

Previously, in August 2023, the two sides had reached a settlement but the judge ruled it “too low,” as both of the defendants were bringing in thousands of dollars in Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deals, according to The Daily Wildcat.

The plaintiff filed the lawsuit against de Laura, his parents, Latu, his parents and St. Louis High School, the school the three involved parties attended in Hawaii in 2018.

Last week, after over three years, the plaintiff and defendants reached an undisclosed settlement.

De Laura announced his commitment to Texas State on Jan. 15, but the day the civil lawsuit was settled, Texas State made the signing official.

A big time QB coming to San Marcos,” Texas State Football’s Twitter read in the post announcing the addition. It also featured the “aloha” or “Shaka” hand symbol emoji.

This is the man Texas State chose to be the face of a season that was bound to be filled with further dreams and aspirations of bigger and better college football bowl games in an expanded College Football Playoffs.

This is the man Texas State chose to be the face of an entire athletics program the year after releasing an Annual Fire Security and Safety Report where Texas State reported 40 rapes in 2022 – an increase of 135% from the reported rapes of 2021.

This is the man Texas State chose just five years removed from drastically underreporting rapes in its 2019 Annual Security Report. In the 2019 report, the university didn’t report 29 rapes from 2016-18.

Texas State officials, who most likely knew of the lawsuit because of its prominence in coverage in de Laura’s native state of Hawaii and his former school in Arizona, made a terrible call in signing de Laura.

It gives no assurance to the student body that the university is taking its reported 135% increase in rapes, 200% increase in hate crimes, 112% increase in aggravated assaults, 300% increase in dating violence and 43% increase in stalking cases seriously enough to consider not signing a quarterback who doesn’t represent the values someone with that significant of a leadership position will have on the athletics program and the campus.

So cut de Laura, Texas State.

Tell the alumni you understand this town’s culture and history and now recognize your mistake.

Tell the students and their parents you’re building an environment that protects everyone, not an environment that feeds a narrative of being an unsafe campus.

Tell those of us who’ve watched the football program struggle for years, and some decades, that we didn’t compromise our morals at the first taste of bowl game victory.

– Carson Weaver is a mass communications senior

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