Gay football player says he was denied tryout at Palomar College

School says Jamie Kuntz welcome to try out

SAN MARCOS, Calif. -  

A gay football player told 10News he won't apply to Palomar College after the school appeared to change its mind on offering him a chance to try out.
 
Jamie Kuntz was a standout high school player and earned a scholarship to attend a junior college in North Dakota.
 
However, Kuntz, a linebacker, suffered a concussion before his first game this past September. During the game, he was assigned some duties in the press box, where teammates spotted him kissing an older man -- his 65-year-old boyfriend. Some claimed there was more than kissing, which Kuntz denied.  
 
Kuntz was confronted by his coach, and Kuntz said the man was his grandfather and nothing happened.   
 
Gay advocates have defended his actions, citing the stigma of homosexuality in football.
 
"To keep playing the sport I love, my instinct was to lie," said Kuntz in an interview with ESPN.
 
At the end of the bus ride home, he came clean to his coach. The next day, Kuntz was off the team for conduct detrimental to the team.
 
His dismissal made national headlines, while his desire to play football led him to Palomar College in San Marcos.
 
Kuntz said a linebackers coach at Palomar College saw his highlight reel and texted him several times, saying he was impressed and excited at the prospect of having him on the team.
 
Kuntz said after looking more into the North Dakota incident, the same coach called him and told him he wouldn't be on the team.
 
In a report by the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, Palomar College head football coach Joe Early was quoted as saying, "Our big thing is, he lied."  
 
"From this quote, it appears the coach has already made up his mind," said 10News reporter Michael Chen. 
 
Palomar College spokeswoman Laura Gropen responded, "I can't say that's true, because we're still investigating exactly what happened."
 
Gropen told 10News Kuntz is welcome to try out for the team.
 
"If he has the talent to get on the team, he will be on the team … We've attempted to phone him to let him know he's welcome to try out," said Gropen.
 
When 10News asked Kuntz whether he was consider applying to Palomar College, he answered, "No," and he said he knows the coaches won't let him on the team.
 
Kuntz declined an extended interview, fearing more media coverage could hurt his chances to play for another team.
 
He did say he's frustrated because his attempt to hide his sexuality is being used against him again.
 
"I never said what I did was right, but I don't think the punishment fit the crime," Kuntz said.
 
Palomar College says they are taking this issue seriously and are very serious about being inclusive on campus.
 
Kuntz said he still hopes to play football by next fall.
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