Jamain Stephens, a football player at California University of Pennsylvania, died Tuesday at age 20, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The newspaper initially reported Stephens died from complications related to COVID-19, citing a Facebook post from Stephens’ old high school, Central Catholic in Pittsburgh. The school later updated its post, saying, “in an effort to get the news out about his death in a timely manner, we mistakenly attributed his death without official confirmation on cause of death.” The school said it relied on his “close friends” for its original post.
The senior reserve defensive lineman appeared in 32 games for Cal U, which is located about 35 miles from where his father, also named Jamain Stephens, played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late 1990s.
“Jamain was such a wonderful student with a smile on his face every time you saw him,” Cal U athletic director Karen Hjerpe said in a statement. “His personality was contagious and he made such a positive impact on everyone he met.”
The NCAA tweeted condolences.
“We join Cal U in mourning the loss of Jamain Stephens,” it wrote. “Our thoughts are with his family, friends and teammates during this time.”
Fond remembrances filled the Facebook page for Central Catholic, where he was known as “Juice” in helping his team to a state championship.
Cal U, a Division II school, was not playing football this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, USA Today noted. Its league, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, suspended competition earlier in the summer.
Stephens was majoring in business administration.
This article has been updated to reflect the latest Facebook post from Central Catholic, which said the school "mistakenly attributed" Stephens' death to COVID-19 "without official confirmation on cause of death."