CSUF men’s basketball quietly suspends Landon Kirkwood amid allegations of domestic violence

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Now-suspended Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood dribbles as basketball during a game in 2018.
Landon Kirkwood played for Cal State Fullerton during the 2017-18 season, but has not suited up for the university during the 2018-19 campaign after being served with a domestic violence restraining order. (Gabe Gandara / Daily Titan)

The CSUF men’s basketball team indefinitely suspended Titans guard Landon Kirkwood from all team activities after his girlfriend accused him of domestic violence in October.

The Orange County Superior Court issued an emergency protective order to his then-girlfriend Alexis Renea Barkley on Oct. 28, 2018, followed by a domestic violence restraining order on Nov. 2, 2018, court records show.

He has not played in a single game for CSUF this season. The CSUF athletic department only confirmed Kirkwood’s suspension after becoming aware of the Daily Titan’s investigation. CSUF officials would not confirm or deny if Kirkwood had been suspended from the university. The team has not removed Kirkwood from its public online roster, as of press time.

Kirkwood declined comment for this story through an Instagram direct message after attempts to reach him through other mediums.

According to the emergency order, Barkley accused Kirkwood of grabbing and throwing her to the ground to prevent her from leaving his apartment on Oct. 28. Barkley also accused Kirkwood of pulling her out of her vehicle and throwing her to the ground to take her phone. She said the struggle left a scratch across her chest from the seatbelt as well as bruises on her wrists and knee.

The CSUF police officer who signed the emergency protective order for Barkley said that there were “visible injuries on Barkley.” Barkley posted photos of her injuries on Facebook on Oct. 30, as part of a 1,330-word post.

It is Daily Titan’s policy to omit the names of people who are reported to be victims of domestic violence, but Barkley widely publicized her account on Facebook and spoke freely to the Daily Titan.

Barkley’s domestic violence restraining order required Kirkwood to “stay at least 100 yards away from” her, her home, workplace, vehicle and school, and forbid him to contact her in any way or attempt to obtain her address.

That order expired because neither Kirkwood nor Barkley appeared at a court hearing on Nov. 21. By then, Barkley said she had moved out of state and did not attend the hearing.

University Police will not release the November police report because the incident is part of an ongoing investigation involving other agencies, said University Police Capt. Scot Willey.

One month before Barkley obtained her restraining order against Kirkwood, University Police arrested her on suspicion of domestic violence, Willey said. Barkley said this was after a dispute between her and Kirkwood.

A spokesperson for the Orange County District Attorney’s office said the September case against Barkley was not pursued due to “lack of sufficient evidence.”

University Police would not release the police report from that incident without a public records request, which the Daily Titan has filed.

On Nov. 29, Barkley emailed Titans head coach Dedrique Taylor and members of his assistant coaching staff about what had happened, and included pictures of her injuries. On the same day, she sent a similar email without the photos to Hallie Hunt, CSUF’s dean of students.

Taylor and the athletics department declined comment beyond confirming the suspension through a team spokesman. Hunt declined to comment. Both the athletic department and Hunt cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) law to explain why they could not provide more information.

Hunt referred the Daily Titan to the U.S. Department of Education’s website, which explains FERPA. It states that “an institution may disclose to anyone — not just the victim — the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if it determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, and with respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies.”

When presented with this passage, Hunt replied in an email, “FERPA says an institution may disclose information, not that it must. I do not have any information to share with you.”

The Student Press Law Center has criticized universities for using FERPA “to deny journalists’ requests for public records, even when the records have little relation to a student’s ‘educational life.’”

Jeff Cook, the spokesman for CSUF, said that CSUF President Fram Virjee was unavailable for comment and the university “would not have information available to share” with the Daily Titan.

In the Titans’ homecoming game against Cal Lutheran on Dec. 1, Titans guard Jamal Smith began wearing jersey No. 12 — which was Kirkwood’s number with the team — and on Wednesday night against Loyola Marymount University, the Titans’ live box score credited Smith’s stats to Kirkwood.

A team spokesman said Smith’s white No. 1 jersey was lost on a recent road trip and Kirkwood’s No. 12 was used as a replacement. The resulting box score error was eventually corrected, reflecting that Kirkwood did not play and wasn’t sitting on the bench.

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