Ohio State has reached a settlement in relation to the death of Austin Singletary. The 22-year-old died due to injuries he received during the 2015 Mirror Lake jump.
The university will pay Singletary’s family a $450,000 settlement to resolve a negligence claim regarding his death, but the settlement doesn’t serve as an admission of liability.
Tracy and Maxton Singletary, the co-administrators of Austin Singletary’s estate, filed the claim Nov. 21, nearly two years after their son died Nov. 25, 2015. The family signed the settlement Nov. 18.
“I think it was an appropriate resolution and the parties acted as you would want them to act given this tragedy,” said William Posey, an attorney who represented the Singletary family. He added Ohio State “understood the loss and worked toward a resolution professionally and with kindness.”
Austin Singletary’s death was a result of blunt force injuries to the head and neck from diving into shallow water while participating in the previously held Mirror Lake tradition, during which students would jump into the lake the week of the Ohio State-Michigan game each November.
They sought at least $25,000 in damages, according to court documents.
Additionally, the university will install a bench in Austin Singletary’s honor at a “mutually agreeable location to be paid for by his family.” But Ohio State has the right to disapprove of the bench’s design, location, signage and engravings prior to its installation.
“The University’s sympathy continues to be with Austin’s family and friends over his passing,” university spokesman Chris Davey said in an emailed statement. “This was a heartbreaking tragedy.”
The agreement between Ohio State and the Singletary family is not binding until its approval by the Probate Court of Greene County, Ohio. If the county does not approve the agreement, then it will become null.
Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government voted to halt the jump Dec. 15, 2016.
Additionally, the university announced last year its plan to restore the lake, a design which would make it nearly impossible for students to jump into due to thick marshes surrounding the body of water and a quick-drain option.
The lake sits drained today with fences surrounding it, awaiting additional construction to its redesign.