STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -Linebacker Chris Collins was permanently dismissed from Oklahoma State's football team Monday, six days after he pleaded guilty to a felony aggravated sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in Texas.
Coach Mike Gundy met with Collins to inform him of the dismissal, according to a statement released Monday evening by Marlene Strathe, the university's interim president.
``Chris has been a model student-athlete since he arrived at OSU last year and coach Gundy felt that he had earned the privilege of hearing the decision face-to-face from his head coach,'' Strathe said in the statement.
Collins had been suspended for the remainder of the season after entering his guilty plea last week in New Boston, Texas, on the charge resulting from the May 2004 assault that occurred after prom in Collins' junior year of high school. Collins, who was 17 at the time, was one of four men charged with assaulting the girl. An affidavit indicated the girl said she could recall Collins being on top of her and kissing her neck, and contains a statement from one of the other men that he saw Collins and the girl having sexual relations.
A jury recommended five years of probation for Collins, who will be formally sentenced by a judge on Dec. 10.
Strathe said Collins would be permitted to keep his scholarship and remain in school.
Earlier in the day, Gundy said he had been personally satisfied with the university's investigation into Collins before he was offered a scholarship as part of the Cowboys' 2006 recruiting class. Texas had initially offered Collins a scholarship, but rescinded it after Collins was arrested.
``I'm trying to do the best I can without really going back to that now. There's just some things we can talk about and some things we can't, mainly because of Chris,'' Gundy said during his weekly news conference. ``Once we get all the information, we're going to try to release as thorough a release as we can.''
Collins was Oklahoma State's leading tackler through six games last season when he suffered a season-ending injury. He had 31 tackles and one forced fumble in five games this season. He also missed four games due to injury this season.
``It's a big loss for us. We need 44 the bulldog. We need him,'' receiver Tommy Devereaux said. ``He brings a lot to the table, a lot of energy. Even though he's on defense, he gets our offense fired up.''
Devereaux said Collins had returned to Stillwater, and teammates had seen him earlier Monday and offered him support.
``He's around here right now. We just tap him on the shoulder, make him laugh, just have a good time. He seems like he's handling it pretty well. I think he'll be all right.''

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