CHAMPAIGN — Illinois softball player Ruby Rivera has been suspended from competition indefinitely after an accusation that she vandalized a menorah at the Illini Chabad House on campus early Sunday morning.
Surveillance video at the scene shows Rivera attempting to remove a light bulb from the religious symbol, then breaking the menorah. Another person was present, police identified him as an Illinois student-athlete as well.
Rivera was given a notice to appear in court and is expected to face charges for criminal damage to property. The other suspect was questioned by authorities, but will not be charged. Police did not release his name but a release from Illinois interim athletic director Paul Kowalczyk said he is a men’s gymnast and will be suspended for the next two meets.
“We are disappointed by the actions early Sunday morning of two student-athletes from softball and men’s gymnastics at the Chabad Jewish Center on campus and apologize for this unacceptable behavior,” Kowalczyk said Tuesday afternoon. “I’ve spoken to the student-athletes and to staff at the Center, and made it very clear that this behavior falls far short of the high expectations we hold for everyone who represents the University of Illinois.”
Rivera is a junior and a two-year starter at shortstop for the Illini. She was fifth on the team in hits last season, sporting a .324 batting average.