Arizona's Bennedict Mathurin reaches out to TCU showgirl despite not recalling to have touched her
March 24, 2022
Dave Heeke, the athletic director of the University of Arizona, released a statement Wednesday regarding a video that appeared on social media that showed Bennedict Mathurin, a star player for the Wildcats and a female student from Texas Christian University.
After returning to Tucson, Heeke was notified that a video posted online showed that Bennedict had allegedly made contact with a student of Texas Christian University. Heeke then reached out to the school's athletics department and apologized to the student.
"Shortly after returning to Tucson, I was notified that people on social media were claiming a video clip showed Bennedict Mathurin may have made physical contact with a TCU student while walking off the court," Heeke stated. "I have reached out to TCU's Athletics Department and I spoke with Bennedict. While he does not recall any contact, he has attempted to reach out to the TCU student through their Athletic Department to apologize."
The video shows Mathurin looking toward the stands after Arizona's win over Texas Christian University. As the 19-year-old star turns toward the tunnel, he looks at the crown and extends his arms as he walks toward the tunnel. With his arms fully stretched, his hand approached the student's chest, though it is unclear if there is any contact.
A new angle of the video shows that the female student, a cheerleader performing for TCU's various events, remained still as Mathurin walked toward the tunnel.
Mathurin tries to reach out
On Wednesday, Mathurin said he had tried to contact the student through the athletic department of Texas Christian University.
The 6-foot-6 guard didn't provide a response to a follow-up question regarding his apology to the female student. He also refused to answer a follow-up question regarding whether or not he touched the dancer.
Officials from the university did not provide details regarding the incident. The female student also has not been identified.
"We have been in contact with the University of Arizona and received communication from their student-athlete," Texas Christian University athletic director Jeremiah Donati stated without further elaboration.
The videos have sparked a lot of discussion on social media, with some calling for an apology from Mathurin and others claiming that he didn't need to apologize for the incident.
Tommy Lloyd, the head coach of the Arizona Wildcats, said he did not learn about the incident until the team returned from San Diego.
Lloyd referred to a statement made by athletic director Heeke regarding the incident. He said he was surprised by the situation.
"We were as surprised as anybody. I'm just going to refer to that statement from Dave about the situation," the 47-year-old head coach said.
Arizona's next matchup
The Wildcats are scheduled to face Houston on Thursday in the NCAA Tournament Round of 16.
After defeating Wright State, the Wildcats needed overtime to beat the ninth-seeded team from Texas Christian University. As for Houston, the Cougars faced off against the fourth-seeded team from Illinois before defeating the Fighting Illini.
Both the Wildcats and the Cougars are looking to advance to the Final Four. For Arizona, this will be its 19th appearance in the tournament's Sweet 16. On the other hand, Houston made its third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance.