TEMPE, Ariz. (KSAZ) - The Arizona State University - University of Arizona rivalry is a big one here in the state, but last month, the friendly competition between the two schools took a violent turn.
An ASU rugby player has been arrested, accused of delivering a brutal kick in the face to a U of A player.
Christopher Crawford faces a felony count of aggravated assault after police say he intentionally kicked the rival player during a match. The victim, Doug Neary, suffered serious injuries and had to undergo facial reconstruction surgery.
Neary is a junior at U of A and a Baltimore, Maryland native. He's lucky to be alive after the injuries he sustained. Neary has been released from the hospital.
Three referees officiating that match said this incident was the worst they'd ever seen in their history with rugby.
Crawford, 20, was taken into custody on February 27 after police say he kicked Neary during a junior varsity match on the Sun Devil Fitness Center fields in Tempe. Police say Neary was trying to tie his shoe when he was kicked in the face. The force of that blow knocked him unconscious and broke several bones, which led to the reconstructive surgery the following day.
Police say Crawford immediately ran from the scene, not even waiting to be ejected from the match. When he was arrested, police say he told officers that he had no remorse for what he did and that he was acting in self defense.
We asked Crawford for his side of the story and he said, "I can't release a statement.. I can't talk to you guys."
Crawford was released on a $5,000 bond. He is not an ASU student. It is unclear why he was allowed to be on the team. In the meantime, we've reached out to both schools for comment and have not received a response.