Sports Outside the Beltway

Jason Ray, Tarheel Mascott, Dies from Injuries

UNC’s mascott was struck by a car and killed.

Jason Ray, a North Carolina student who performed as a mascot for the school’s basketball team, died three days after being struck by a car hours before an NCAA Tournament game. He was 21.

Ray died Monday morning, said Steve Kirschner, the university’s associate athletic director for communications.

An NCAA official told that the men’s basketball tournament selection committee is discussing with the four Final Four teams to determine how they will memoralize Ray’s death prior to Saturday’s national semifinals.

Ray had been in critical condition at Hackensack University Medical Center since the accident Friday afternoon. He was hit from behind while walking on a highway shoulder near his Fort Lee hotel after going to a nearby convenience store.

Ray performed as UNC’s ram mascot, Rameses. He was scheduled to graduate in May with a major in business administration and a minor in religion. He was in New Jersey for the men’s game between North Carolina and Southern California.

Emmitt Ray said his son “absolutely loved” dressing up as Rameses, despite the costume’s bulk.

“It was his way of supporting the team,” the father told The Star-Ledger of Newark. “There are things you just can’t explain. He wasn’t doing anything he wasn’t supposed to be doing. He was 200 yards from the hotel.”

No charges have been filed against the driver of the sport utility vehicle. Police said the driver stopped immediately to try to help Ray and called 911. Police also said the driver had a valid driver’s license and did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Sad news.

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RIP Jason Ray! You were a great Rameses!

Posted by Lauren | March 28, 2007 | 02:40 pm | Permalink

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