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Thursday, September 4, 2003
Rutherford likely to play, but won't start

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Though senior quarterback Rod Rutherford is expected to play in Pittsburgh's opener Saturday against Kent State, he won't be allowed to start because a dispute he was involved in violated team rules.

Coach Walt Harris said Rutherford will also be disciplined in other ways, but he wouldn't give specific.

"From the information we have, he has engaged in behavior that is contrary to those expectations, our team rules and the responsibilities he assumes as a leader," Harris said.

The decision came as Pittsburgh police investigate a complaint by a 19-year-old woman that Rutherford confronted her and two other women outside a nightspot Monday, kicked in a car window and grabbed her arm. Rutherford disputes that account, saying the woman threw a glass at him in a parking lot.

No charges have been filed.

Earlier this week, Harris agreed the Rutherford incident had become a major distraction as No. 10 Pitt heads into its most anticipated season in 20 years.

"The focus of the entire team and coaching staff is now on getting ready to play and I will have no further statement on this matter until the legal process has been concluded," Harris said.

Harris' decision likely means redshirt freshman Luke Getsy, who did not play last season, will start against Kent State (1-0).

Getsy was expected to be the No. 3 quarterback behind Rutherford and sophomore Tyler Palko, but moved past Palko this week.

Rutherford, a former Pittsburgh City League high school star, led Pittsburgh to a 9-4 record in his first season as a starter, throwing for 2,783 yards and 22 touchdowns in Harris' pro-style offense. He also passed for a touchdown in a 38-13 victory over Oregon State in the Insight Bowl.