Utah CB Hatfield, facing assault charge after fight, reinstated to team

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham reinstated suspended Dominique Hatfield on Monday, saying the cornerback served enough punishment.

Whittingham said at a news conference he conferred with athletic director Chris Hill.

Hatfield was dismissed from the team, but not the school, in July after he was charged with aggravated robbery and theft. Those charges were dropped, but Hatfield was charged with misdemeanor assault in August stemming from a fight during a party. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge, and a hearing is set for Sept. 21.

"It was our belief, in fairness, that he was deserving of being reinstated," Whittingham said.

Hatfield's attorney, Greg Skordas, said of his client: "He was very, very happy. It's been a long time coming."

Whittingham said Hatfield, who started 10 games last season, will play again as soon as he's ready. The junior from Los Angeles finished last season with 38 tackles, one interception and nine pass breakups. He was expected to start in 2015.

"If he's ready this week, he'll play," Whittingham said. "If he's not ready for three weeks, he'll wait three weeks."

Hatfield was charged with misdemeanor assault in August stemming from a fight during a summer party. A man told police he was attacked by four or five people during a party on July 5 and identified Hatfield as one of the men, authorities said.

According to court documents, the man said Hatfield was "rolling marijuana into a blunt" and he asked Hatfield to not smoke at the house because a number of university athletes were in attendance and could be drug tested. The man said Hatfield and others attacked him and caused multiple cuts to his face and nose, bruising around the eyes, shoulder and back. He was treated at the hospital.