RIT Women’s Hockey coach Scott McDonald was briefly taken into police custody on December 1 after allegedly punching another man in the face during a game of hockey. The victim, Taylor Scott of Fairport, suffered three broken teeth and nerve damage to his jaw. McDonald served a one-game coaching suspension for the incident.
Now, Scott is pressing criminal charges in addition to the RIT-mandated penalty for breaking the Code of Conduct. McDonald has been accused of a misdemeanor third-degree assault charge, a charge to which he pleaded not guilty in Perinton Town Court on February 14. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
McDonald did not comment as he was leaving the court. His lawyer, Brian DeCarolis, admits that McDonald did indeed throw the punch, arguing instead that he believes McDonald should not be penalized with criminal charges for the incident.
“If we’re going to start criminalizing one punch during a hockey game, I think Rochester Police need to move their headquarters to the Blue Cross Arena for all the Amerks home games,” said DeCarolis in an interview with 13 WHAM news. “I think it is a slippery slope to start getting inside the lines of the games that we play with what is acceptable behavior, and at the end of the day, a penalty doesn’t make a crime.”
Regardless of whether the incident will be criminalized, McDonald’s punishment at RIT will not extend beyond the original one-game suspension. “RIT handled this matter in December with the suspension of the coach,” says Bob Finnerty, chief communications officer for RIT’s University News. “We have a code of conduct, [and] he was suspended for those reasons. Now it will proceed in the courts.”