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ASU rugby player pleads guilty to aggravated assault

Christopher Crawford kicked a UA rugby player with his cleat last February

ASU men’s rugby team in a scrum at the Intramural Fields at ASU’s Tempe Campus Sept. 29, 2017.

Former ASU rugby player Christopher Crawford pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on Tuesday, April 24, according to documents from Maricopa County Superior Court.

The court hearing comes as a result of an incident that dates back to Feb. 25, 2017, when Crawford appeared to strike UA's Doug Neary while he was tying his shoe.

The blow left Neary with fractured bones and a concussion, and Crawford initially pleaded that the kick to the face was “self-defense,” according to police officials.

At the time, Crawford was not enrolled at ASU, with the sport of rugby being classified as a “club sport” on campus.

Since that time, drastic changes have been made to all club sports on campus, including new safety protocols and player regulations.

In 2017, ASU rugby president Bailey Stringer sent a letter to USA Rugby explaining the incident, and how changes have been made to try and further prevent any harm within the club.

In a copy of the letter that was obtained by the State Press, a portion of the letter read:

“Moving forward, we will make sure that our players are compliant with all league, union and school rules,” Stringer said. “We have new student leadership for the 2017-2018 school year. A new president, vice president and treasurer. As the new leadership of the club, we are committed to making sure our club runs better and without incident in the future.” 

According to reports, Crawford turned himself into the police several days after the incident had occurred in February.

Crawford's sentencing will begin on June 7. 

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