Former men’s tennis star Dragos Ignat was acquitted of two criminal charges on Monday stemming from his involvement in an altercation at Mel’s Burger Bar on Sept. 13, 2015.
Then a senior and two-time All-Ivy first team selection, Ignat was kicked off the team and suspended from the University. According to witness testimony presented at the trial and a Spectator report published immediately after the incident, the altercation also involved members of the heavyweight rowing team.
The jury’s decision to acquit Ignat ended a judicial process that began in December of 2015, as it was unable to determine that beyond reasonable doubt he had violated the New York penal law for assault in the second degree or criminal possession of a weapon—in Ignat’s case, the use of a glass bottle—in the fourth degree.
According to multiple sources close to the men’s tennis program, the Romanian native’s passport was revoked during the investigation, rendering him unable to leave the country or apply for a job between the time his case was opened and now.
While at the end of Monday’s proceedings, which Spectator attended, Ignat was returned his passport, head coach Bid Goswami claimed that Ignat’s suspension from Columbia was for two years and that he’ll need to be reinstated to continue his studies.
Having only completed three seasons of tennis, if Ignat is reinstated by the University he could potentially return to play depending on rulings from Columbia Athletics, the NCAA, and the Ivy League. The Ivy League has granted extra years of eligibility to players who have sat out for a season due to injury, but there is little if any precedent of the league granting eligibility after not competing for multiple years.
Legal representatives for both Ignat and the state of New York were not immediately available for comment on the matter.
Stay tuned for updates.