UCLA head football coach Rick Neuheisel has dismissed three incoming freshmen from the football team for "violation of team rules." The three were arrested last week on suspicion of felony theft after allegedly stealing a female student's backpack.
Paul Richardson, Shaquille Richardson and Joshua Shirley -- 18-year-olds who were enrolled in UCLA's summer school session -- were notified Tuesday morning that they would not be allowed to continue summer school or to enroll at UCLA for the fall quarter.
If they meet certain requirements set by Neuheisel, which were not explicitly stated in the release, the recruits may be allowed to enroll in January. Additional discipline may be imposed by the office of the dean of students.
The three face felony charges for allegedly stealing a female student's backpack that contained contents worth about $1,200, said Nancy Greenstein, spokeswoman for the campus police, on Monday. This incident occurred Wednesday afternoon when the backpack was taken from a storage locker outside the dining area of the Hedrick Hall dormitory.
Police were called, and there was evidence, believed to be video surveillance, that implicated the three incoming football players. Campus police arrested them, they were booked into county jail and then released Thursday morning, records show. The Richardsons, who are cousins, were each released on $20,000 bail. Shirley was released without bail.
"The three young men know they made a terrible mistake," Neuheisel said in a statement released by UCLA. "We expect our players to behave a certain way, and there are consequences when they don't. Paul, Shaquille and Josh are paying a steep price for their lapse in judgment. They will not be allowed to enroll in school this fall and will not have the opportunity to begin their UCLA academic and athletic careers.
"Whether they are allowed to enroll for winter quarter will be determined at a later date," Neuheisel continued. "That decision will be based on several factors, including their behavior."
Paul Richardson is a 6-1, 180-pound wide receiver from Gardena Serra High; Shaquille Richardson is a 6-1, 190-pound defensive back from Los Alamitos; and Shirley, a 6-2, 215-pound linebacker from Fontana Kaiser. Multiple recruiting services ranked all three as top-50 recruits.
-- Baxter Holmes