VIDEO INTERVIEW: Florida Tech QB Mark Cato Will Return To Lead Panthers For 2017 Season
By Daniel Supraner, Florida Tech Sports // April 4, 2017
Cato to resume team activities this summer
ABOVE VIDEO: Florida Tech Head Coach Steve Englehart and Athletic Director Bill Jurgens speak to Space Coast Daily’s Alan Zlotorzynski about QB Mark Cato rejoining the team for the 2017 season.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Florida Institute of Technology’s Appeals Committee has accepted the appeal of student-athlete Mark Cato, ending his suspension as a Florida Tech football player.
The redshirt senior, whose legal name is Marquis Robins, appeared before the committee in March and was questioned by members, who are administrators and faculty from outside the Department of Athletics.
The committee also spoke with head football coach Steve Englehart before deliberating and then subsequently deciding to allow Cato to return to the football program with conditions, after he had been suspended from athletics activities since last fall.
Cato, the Panthers starting quarterback for the last three seasons, was arrested by Melbourne police in November on suspicion of driving under the influence.
The university immediately suspended him from all team activities. Consequences of the suspension included Cato missing the team’s playoff game last year.
Athletics Director Bill Jurgens has announced that Cato will remain away from football activities through the spring, including the April 7 spring scrimmage.
Cato has the opportunity to resume football activities in the summer, six months after he was suspended, but will be held out of the first game of the regular season Sept. 2, as a consequence of his actions.
ABOVE VIDEO: Mark Cato of Florida Tech talks with Space Coast Daily’s Steve Wilson about the Panthers big win over No. 1 West Georgia in November of 2015.
Further conditions of his return to the football team include: ongoing counseling, at his personal expense; community service appearances, discussing the dangers of alcohol abuse; and zero tolerance for any future infractions.
“In keeping with our policies and procedures, Mark was originally suspended for a year,” Jurgens said.
“Mark failed to live up to the high standards we expect our student-athletes to demonstrate, and we followed our process and procedures. That process granted Mark, as it would any of our student-athletes, the right to appeal, and Mark successfully availed himself of that option.”
“We accept the committee’s decision and are encouraged by Mark’s growth throughout this process. He will have served a two-game suspension and sat out from the team for six months.”
“He has taken responsibility for his actions, is performing well in the classroom and has shown that he understands the seriousness of his mistakes,” Jurgens added.
“We will work with him and support him as he returns to the team and continues his successful efforts toward earning his business degree.”
“A big part of what I value as a team player is living up to the responsibilities my teammates, coaches and fellow students place in me. Last fall, I failed to do that,” Cato said.
“As a student, as an athlete, as a representative of Florida Tech and someone privileged to wear a Panthers uniform, I am deeply sorry about my conduct and embarrassed by my actions.”
“I want to thank my family, Mr. Jurgens, Coach Englehart and my teammates for believing in me through this difficult period as well as giving me the opportunity to finish my career and schooling next fall here at Florida Tech.”
“I look forward to returning to the field and finishing my last season with something special. This opportunity will not be wasted. I plan on proving to everyone that I can handle myself accordingly in every situation both on and off the field.”
ABOVE VIDEO: Mark Cato has been an important cog for the Florida Tech offense.
“The action that we took last November to remove Mark from the team meant that honestly, I did not think he would be back,” Englehart said.
“I have spoken at length with Mark and am pleased with the progress that he is making. College is about learning in both traditional and non-traditional ways, and this experience has taught Mark plenty, about himself, about what it means to be a responsible adult, and about the importance of personal accountability.”
“I hope we can help him turn this experience into a positive for the community.”
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