LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The University of Arkansas suspended
five players Tuesday, including three athletes identified in a rape
complaint that did not result in charges, for violating unspecified
Coach John Pelphrey said guards Courtney Fortson and Stefan
Welsh were suspended indefinitely. Guard Marcus Britt was suspended
for six games, forward Glenn Bryant two games, and walk-on guard
Nick Mason will not dress for games during the fall semester.
The school did not provide specific reasons for the suspensions,
which will keep all players out of Friday night's season opener.
An 18-year-old freshman accused three basketball players of
raping her Aug. 27 at a fraternity house party. The police report
identified the players as Britt, Bryant and Mason. The prosecutor
in the case, John Threet, said there was insufficient evidence to
file charges, but the case is now before a special prosecutor at
the request of the woman and her attorney.
Threet didn't oppose the request, though he has said he stands
by his decision not to file charges. The woman's attorney, John
Bass, has suggested there was a conflict of interest because Threet
is the son-in-law of former Arkansas athletic director Frank
Broyles and the brother-in-law of an athletic department spokesman.
Bass said he wouldn't comment on the suspensions.
Pelphrey said in September that although his players were
cleared of criminal wrongdoing, he expected them to "adhere to a
higher standard and code of conduct," and added suspensions would
After the players were accused, Fortson posted a crude message
on Twitter that appeared to reference the matter.
Athletic department spokesman Phil Pierce said the incident at
the fraternity house was not the sole cause of Tuesday's
"All of the suspensions are not related to that incident,"
A woman identifying herself as Bryant's mother answered at a
number listed for the freshman, but said she had no comment. Britt
did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment late Tuesday, and a
number for him appeared to be disconnected.
Mason did not immediately return a phone message left by The
Associated Press. It was not clear whether the three players have
A number for Welsh also appeared to be disconnected, and a
person who answered a call for Fortson said it was the wrong
"This collection of suspensions is not yesterday, day before.
This dates back," Pelphrey said. "As a college basketball coach,
the biggest hammer we have is taking away playing time, taking away
game time. We feel like some of these issues merited having those
things taken away."
The suspensions will be served concurrently, so with forward
Michael Sanchez injured, Arkansas could be missing six players for
Friday's game against Alcorn State.
"When I took this job I said it was my dream job, and I meant
it," said Pelphrey, entering his third season as Razorbacks coach.
"We are working, and we are making progress."
The Arkansas men's basketball program has been plagued by
several off-the-court issues recently. Britt was arrested during
the offseason on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. And
earlier this year, the program was put on notice by the NCAA about
its low academic-progress rate.
Pierce said he wasn't aware of any additional suspensions.
"Like anything, if something new is to pop up, I'm sure that
Coach would reserve the right to add to what he has already done,"