Some faculty members and students have questioned why football and other intercollegiate athletics are being introduced as the school struggles with its budget and declining enrollment.
Some also have said privately that they did not understand why a convicted rapist would be placed on the team.
Mays and his attorney, Adam Nemann, could not be reached for comment. Nemann has said previously that Mays is a promising young man who is eager to prove himself.
Young said that Mays has served his time in juvenile detention and deserves a second chance.
She has said that the sports teams — which are to include archery and men’s and women’s basketball — will be an enrollment and budget booster.
Mays, now 20, was released in January after serving a two-year sentence in an Ohio Department of Youth Services facility.
Mays and a teammate, Ma’Lik Richmond, were found delinquent in the 2012 rape of the girl. Mays, who was 17 at the time, also was found delinquent of using his phone to take a picture of the nude victim.
The case attracted international media attention.
The sentencing judge classified Mays as a Tier II sex offender required to report to a local sheriff every six months for 20 years.
Hocking College policy prohibits sex offenders from living in campus residence halls.
After his release from juvenile detention, Mays transferred to Indian Creek High School in Jefferson County and graduated with honors this year. He has the opportunity to attend any open-enrollment college in Ohio, Young said in a statement.
“Everyone deserves a second chance,” she said. “Second chances do not excuse or defend previous behavior. There are a lot of ‘second chance’ stories at every community college. Trenton’s story is just one more.”
Mays has successfully completed everything that the juvenile justice system required of him, Young said.
Besides her statement to the newspaper, Young sent a similarly worded letter to the faculty and staff on Thursday announcing that Mays will attend the college and play on the football team.
The fall semester begins on Aug. 24.
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