Since being hired as Oregon’s coach in December, Mario Cristobal has talked publicly about instilling a strong culture within the program that will hold everyone accountable for their actions.
“There is a culture that makes or breaks a team,” Cristobal said before spring practice began. “I think last year that was a foundation laid between all of us that gave us a chance to start building upon that.”
On April 25, only four days after the Ducks’ spring game, Fotu Leiato was arrested for allegedly removing a parking boot from a vehicle. He was also booked on a warrant for failing to appear in Eugene Municipal Court earlier in April to face a second-degree criminal trespass charge.
Oregon confirmed that Leiato has since been dismissed from the team by Cristobal.
“We hold our student-athletes to high standards and will take appropriate action once all of the facts have been reviewed,” Cristobal said in a statement after Leiato’s arrest on the misdemeanor charges.
Leiato was projected to be a starter on Oregon’s defense at the hybrid “Duck” linebacker position. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound senior played in 38 of 39 games for the Ducks during the past three seasons with a total of 37 tackles.
During the recruiting process, Leiato became an internet sensation because of his popular highlight reel on the recruiting video website Hudl.com. The clip has over 1,000,000 views to date.
The trespass charge stems from March, when Leiato was arrested by Lane Transit District security for trespassing at the downtown station at 1080 Willamette St., Eugene police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said.
Leiato had been previously banned from the station after he rode a bus last November and refused to pay for his fare or show his Oregon student ID card, which he was carrying, McLaughlin said. He was cited for criminal trespass then and arrested last March when he allegedly reappeared at the station.
A warrant for failing to appear in Municipal Court on the trespassing charge was issued April 9, McLaughlin said.
Former Oregon coach Willie Taggart made a statement about holding players accountable for their off-field actions by dismissing wide receiver Darren Carrington, one of the most talented players on the roster, from the program following his arrest on DUII charges last July.