California University of Pennsylvania defensive tackle Jamain Stephens dies at age 20

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Jamain Stephens, a football player at Division II California University of Pennsylvania, died Tuesday. The Cal U athletic department confirmed Stephens’ death in a statement. A Facebook post from Stephens’ high school alma mater on Tuesday initially attributed his death to complications of COVID-19, but Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh clarified Wednesday that it “mistakenly attributed his death without official confirmation on cause,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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Stephens’ father, Jamain Stephens Sr., told Sports Illustrated that the family is “not sure of the truth.” Stephens had reportedly informed friends that he’d tested positive for COVID-19 just one week before his death.

“Jamain was such a wonderful student with a smile on his face every time you saw him,” Cal U athletic director Karen Hjerpe said. “His personality was contagious and he made such a positive impact on everyone he met.” 

Stephens, 20, played in 32 games over three seasons. He was a business administration major and set to be a senior defensive lineman on the team this season. His father, also named Jamain, played in the NFL as an offensive lineman from 1996 to 2003.

Cal U’s conference, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, suspended all competition for the fall semester in July in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Division II Council followed up in August by canceling fall sports championships.

The NCAA shared a message of condolences on Tuesday. “We join Cal U in mourning the loss of Jamain Stephens,” read a tweet from the NCAA. “Our thoughts are with his family, friends and teammates during this time.”

Stephens graduated from Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was part of the school’s 2015 state championship. He was known by the nickname of “Juice,” according to the school’s Facebook post. Cal U is a public university located approximately 35 miles south of Pittsburgh in the town of California, Pennsylvania.





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