Maestas serving suspension

Maestas serving suspension


C.J. Maestas, a 2012 NCAA champion, has been suspended from competition for an unspecified number of meets by the University of Illinois men’s gymnastics program after providing alcohol to a minor last month.

According to a Champaign Police Department report, the 21-year-old Maestas and a recruit making an official campus visit went to a campus bar Sept. 7. Maestas was observed by an Illinois state trooper pouring several shots of alcohol, one of which was consumed by the 17-year-old recruit.

Maestas paid a $330 fine for the city ordinance violation.

“C.J. obviously violated team policy and broke the law, so we’re handling this internally through our administration and through me — through my program,” Illini men’s gymnastics coach Justin Spring said Wednesday. “And we’ve dealt out some pretty severe consequences, and we’re handling it on our end to make sure that he understands how serious these kinds of things are.”

Spring declined to specify how many meets Maestas, who continues to train with the team,  would be suspended. Illinois opens its season Jan. 12 at Illinois-Chicago.

“Not for the whole season, but we felt it was severe enough to warrant a competition dismissal,” Spring said. “We don’t take these things lightly.”

The date of Maestas’ return to competition also will depend on whether the redshirt sophomore has fulfilled all requirements to return to good standing with the team, Spring said.

“I need to make sure that everything that we set forth for him is done and completed,” the UI coach said. “So it’s still subject to change, but he certainly is sitting out at least one competition.”

Maestas hasn’t competed for Illinois since 2012 after suffering a season-ending triceps injury during practice last fall.

As a true freshman in 2012, the Corrales, N.M., native established himself as one of the top gymnasts in the country, becoming the first Illini to win an NCAA title in still rings and placing second in the all-around. Maestas  earned a third All-America honor in pommel horse. That same season, Maestas was the Big Ten’s all-around champion and swept the conference’s  Gymnast of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards. 

During the summer of 2012, Maestas was in the mix for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. He placed fourth in still rings at the U.S. Championships, then finished seventh in the all-around at the U.S. Olympic Trials. In that meet, Maestas again placed fourth in still rings as well as sixth in pommel horse.