In a move that will allow him to avoid going to trial and hopefully put an end to a saga that's been going on since July, Joe Mixon has decided to enter an an Alford plea. In return, Mixon will receive a a one-year deferred sentence, 100 hours of community service and cognitive behavior counseling. Most importantly, though, he'll avoid a trial that would have no doubt put him at the center of attention once again in the state of Oklahoma.
An Alford plea is a guilty plea in criminal court, whereby a defendant (Mixon) in a criminal case does not admit the criminal act and asserts innocence. Kevin Finlay, Mixon's attorney, issued the following statement after news of the plea was released.
"Today, Joe has made the decision that entering an Alford Plea to the misdemeanor and accepting the short period of probation was the best course of action at this point in his life. Joe does not want to be a further distraction to his family, friends, teammates, and the University of Oklahoma," Finlay's statement read. "Joe would like to apologize to everyone affected by this unfortunate chain of events. Joe looks forward to continuing towards his goal of becoming a successful student and athlete at the University of Oklahoma."
This won't mark an end to the saga but it will help it not spread deep into next year and most notably spring football. The surveillance tape of the incident is supposed to be released to the public next month and it will no doubt put the spotlight back on Mixon and the Oklahoma football program. When that happens it'll be a hard day for the Sooners as the video will unquestionably not settle well with the public.
However, the college bowl season will quickly come after the video's release and wash over the harsh criticism Mixon, and the program, are sure to receive. Following the conclusion of the playoffs a trial would have brought it back to the forefront where it would have been THE story in college football. That has been avoided with this plea agreement.
University president David Boren issued a statement on the situation early Monday afternoon.
"The judicial outcome and the video speak for themselves. The University is an educational institution, which always sets high standards that we hope will be upheld by our students. We hope that our students will all learn from those standards, but at the same time, we believe in second chances so that our students can learn and grow from life's experiences. As we have previously indicated, Joe Mixon will not play for our football team during the 2014 season, including postseason competitions. He will have an opportunity to earn his way back on the team during the spring semester."