The junior was kicked off the football and track teams Friday after being arrested and charged with punching and choking his pregnant girlfriend. The previous Saturday, Hill's 92-yard punt return for a touchdown in regulation helped rally the Cowboys past Oklahoma in overtime.
''It's a very sad incident, I feel terrible for all parties involved,'' said coach Mike Gundy on Tuesday. ''The decision had to be made and I was the one that made it. There's certain criteria that we have to meet in order to be on our football team, and I made the best decision that I could for Oklahoma State University, our team, and ultimately, for Tyreek.''
The Cowboys (6-6) snapped a five-game losing streak and extended their school-record bowl streak to nine seasons. They'll play in the Ticket City Cactus Bowl against Washington (8-5) in Tempe, Arizona, on Jan. 2.
''You come off of a certain feeling and you have an incident like this, and it just makes it extremely difficult,'' Gundy said. ''The energy level we got from that game has not been diminished, but it was just a shot in the gut for all of us. It's hard on the players now. Everybody likes Tyreek, and you almost have to pick a side and it's not fair, but we have other players who can step up and make plays.''
Hill was second on the team in rushing with 534 yards and one touchdown on 102 carries. He had 281 yards and a TD with 31 receptions.
''The next man's got to step up, just as if everybody else on this team got hurt,'' said leading rusher Desmond Roland, who also returned three kickoffs this year. ''We have plenty of athletes who can step up and do it.''
One player likely to be called upon is backup running back Rennie Childs, next on the depth chart. In nine appearances this season, Childs gained 261 yards and three touchdowns on 69 carries.
''I need to just continue to work hard in practice and in the game, do what I've been doing, and step my game up a little bit more,'' Childs said. ''I'm ready.''
Hill returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, in addition to the one big punt return TD against the Sooners. Several players will vie for that spot this week in practice.
''Somebody's going to have to do it, so we'll see who steps up and takes the crown,'' said the Cowboys leading receiver David Glidden, who has 40 receptions for 568 yards and two touchdowns. ''There's a few of us out there who are getting a shot.''