Arkansas players face burglary charges

May, 14, 2012
5/14/12
9:00
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Three Arkansas football players were arrested Saturday and charged with burglarizing dorm rooms.

University police arrested wide receivers Marquel Wade and Maudrecus Humphrey, and tight end Andrew Peterson after security video showed the players allegedly walked into rooms where items had been taken. The police report valued the stolen property, including computers and textbooks, at almost $5,000.

[+] EnlargeMarquel Wade
Beth Hall/US PresswireRazorbacks coach John L. Smith immediately and indefinitely suspended receiver Marquel Wade and two other players in his first test of discipline since being hired to replace Bobby Petrino last month.
Arkansas coach John L. Smith indefinitely suspended the three:
"We have high standards for our student-athletes, and I expect them to conduct themselves appropriately. Poor conduct and misbehavior will not be tolerated and is not what we expect from the University of Arkansas football program."

The video that police viewed showed the three players walking the hallways, checking doors and entering rooms inside the dormitory. Police said a witness saw Peterson and Humphrey opening doors, and that another witness identified Peterson as having been in her room.

Some of the stolen items were recovered from a bookstore near campus and in Peterson's room. The report also said a store clerk identified the three as regularly selling used items.

Wade was charged with a felony count of burglary, while Humphrey and Peterson were both charged with nine felony counts of burglary.

Since March, six Arkansas players have been arrested, making 2012 even harder for the football program. Stack those arrests on top of Bobby Petrino's embarrassing exit, and this has been far from the start that Arkansas wanted.

Before the Petrino situation rocked the program, the Razorbacks were expected to be a team that contended for the SEC championship and maybe even the national championship. Since then, the road to multiple title for Arkansas seems to be a little muddier.

Saturday's arrests certainly don't help. Wade only caught eight passes for 62 yards in 2011, but the expectations are for him to be a major contributor in the passing game, especially with the departure of receivers Joe Adams, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright. Wade was also dynamic in the return game, averaging 25.6 yards per kickoff return and returning one kick 85 yards for a touchdown.

Smith was brought in to make the transition to the season easier for players after Petrino's firing. The thought was that this team would be lost if an outsider was brought in, so athletic director Jeff Long went with a very familiar face in Smith, who spent the past three seasons as Arkansas' special teams coach.

This isn't exactly rallying around your new coach. It's having no regard for him or your team. This incident is something a new coach doesn't want to deal with and shouldn't have to deal with. Obviously, Smith will have to see how things play out legally, but losing a player like Wade could put a wrench in Arkansas' plans this fall.

So once again, this team is left trying to pick itself up after yet another boneheaded incident that's brought more embarrassment. Players will no doubt say the right things and scold the wrongdoers, but this act has to be tiring in Fayetteville.

If this team really wants to show that its success isn't going to be all about the coach, it has to make sure the players are more focused going forward. Six arrests doesn't mean players have gotten out of hand, but it isn't a great number to have on your spring résumé. They also stand as more distractions.

And Arkansas doesn't need anymore distractions going forward.

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