He's a star player for the 13th ranked Orangemen, but Eric Devendorf's future as a student athlete is in doubt. A Syracuse University judicial hearing board recommended Wednesday that Devendorf be suspended, barred from the campus for the rest of the academic year.
Word of the decision comes from the attorney for Kimberly Smith, the female student who claims Devendorf hit her in the face during an early morning confrontation November 1st. Richard Kesnig says Smith's emotions over the decision are mixed. "She understood her responsibility, undertook her responsibility reported a wrongdoing and the university took that information and has turned it into holding someone accountable for their action..." Kesnig told Action News, "On the other hand, there is clearly no joy in the way this has affected a young man's life."
Kesnig says the university's judicial hearing board found Devendorf responsible for three of five violations of the code of conduct. He would not elaborate on any of the violations.
Action News contacted District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick to see if he might now try to press criminal charges against Devendorf. "I have not seen the decision." Fitzpatrick replied, "I understand he was not convicted of everything he was accused of."
The news of Devendorf's recommended suspension spread through the SU campus like wildfire. Students are divided whether or not it was appropriate.
"I think if he is guilty of those charges he should be suspended." Giles Parker told Action News, "but otherwise we need him on the team ready to play."
Elizabeth Sennett said "Whatever rules that apply to everybody around here should apply to him. It stinks for the team obviously."
If Devendorf appeals the decision, it could take the university several weeks before he is barred from the campus. Until then, he could still play basketball. Syracuse University Spokesman Kevin Morrow said he "can't confirm or deny any sanction" Morrow says coach "Boeheim has to make his own decision... the university has no say over a student athlete's playing time."
The attorney for Eric Devendorf did not return our calls.