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Baseball Coach Under Fire For Email To Hopeful High School Senior

By Karen Morfitt

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) - Marijuana in Colorado has a Texas baseball coach making headlines for the wrong reasons.

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(credit: Bell family)

Denver Breaking News

In an email to a student from Centennial, he says they no longer recruit from Colorado because he says too many past athletes from Colorado failed drug tests.

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(credit: CBS)

The email was first tweeted out by Denver sports radio host Darren McKee.

Gavin Bell, a senior at Cherokee Trail High School, emailed the Texas Weslyan baseball coach Mike Jeffcoat looking for any insight into their recruitment process.

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Gavin Bell (credit: CBS)

He says the response he got back was unexpected.

"I didn't know what to think to be honest at all," Bell said.

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(credit: CBS)

In his email back to Bell, Jeffcoat thanked him for his interest in the program, but said, "In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test. We have decided to not take a chance on student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians."

Mike Jeffcoat
Mike Jeffcoat (credit: Texas Wesleyan University)

Presumably Jeffcoat is referring to Colorado's legal marijuana laws.

Marijuana laws that Colorado voters passed more than five years ago.

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(credit: CBS)

"That's not what I'm about. I'm about playing baseball and getting good grades in school," Bell said. "Back then, I wasn't even 18 to have any say in this, and now it's being brought upon me."

Those concerns prompted Bell to share the email with his teacher and coaches.

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CBS4's Karen Morfitt interviews Gavin Bell. (credit: CBS)

One of them decided to take it a step further and share it publicly. It has now been shared thousands of times.

Bell says the response has been overwhelming and not at all what he was intending.

"My intention really wasn't to do anything to hurt anybody or get anybody fired. It was just me talking to my coaches and my loved ones like 'What do I do with it,'" Bell said.

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(credit: CBS)

Texas Wesleyan University issued the following response Wednesday afternoon:

"We are aware of the email sent by our baseball coach, and the comments he made are in no way a reflection of Texas Wesleyan university, its values or its recruiting practices."

"This is a personnel matter and it is currently under investigation. It is our university policy to not discuss personnel matters, but we want to reiterate that this email does not reflect our values and we do not condone discrimination. This includes discrimination on the basis of race, color, origin, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability or sexuality; or the political legislation of one's home state. We are committed to providing an inclusive campus for all of our students, faculty, staff, visitors, potential students and their families."

"Texas Wesleyan has a long tradition of excellence in athletics and we are committed to recruiting student-athletes who will excel at our university. Like the NAIA's core values, we are focused on building and recruiting champions of character."

Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.

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