Mizzou suspends 5 players after campus pot bust
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and two teammates have been suspended for Saturday's home game against Vanderbilt after they were arrested by campus police for allegedly smoking marijuana near the school's football stadium.
Two other players in the SUV driven by Green-Beckham — ranked by some recruiting services last year as the nation's top high school player — were also suspended by coach Gary Pinkel, though they were not arrested. All are freshmen.
University police said Thursday that Green-Beckham, linebacker Torey Boozer and wide receiver Levi Copelin were sitting in a white Lincoln Navigator in a parking lot near Memorial Stadium shortly before midnight when a patrol officer approached and smelled marijuana. Green-Beckham was the driver, Capt. Brian Weimer said.
Each was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana and released with a summons to appear in court next month. Under a 2004 ballot measure approved by city voters, possession of small amounts of pot in Columbia is treated as a low-level offense in municipal court similar to a traffic citation. Violators typically pay a fine of no more than $250 and receive community service in lieu of jail time.
The conviction is dropped if the offender stays out of legal trouble for another year, though repeat offenders and those with felony convictions are exempt.
Team spokesman Chad Moller said that the players "have been immediately suspended from the program for one game." Any other punishments will be handled internally, he said.
Defensive lineman Harold Brantley and tight end Brandon Holifield, who were in the car but not arrested, will also miss Saturday's home game as Missouri seeks its first conference win. Those two players were not named by university police, but Moller confirmed their suspensions.
Green-Beckham, who is listed as a reserve but is often on the field in three- and four-receiver sets, is the only player among the five to see meaningful action this season for Missouri (3-2, 0-2 Southeastern Conference). But much has been expected of the player known as DGB since he committed to Mizzou after a record-breaking career at Hillcrest High in the southwest Missouri city of Springfield, where he caught 75 touchdowns and compiled a national-record 6,353 receiving yards.
Those expectations have taken a hit in Missouri's first SEC season after its move from the Big 12.
Green, who is 6-6 and 220 pounds, caught three passes for 32 yards in the season opener, but settled for only one reception in each of the next three games. He scored his first career touchdown on an 80-yard reception last Saturday in a 21-16 win at Central Florida and has seven catches for 128 yards and a touchdown through five games
Before the suspension, offensive coordinator Dave Yost acknowledged that Missouri needs to target Green-Beckham more often.
"When you see it in practice all the time, he's so talented," Yost said. "We've just got to give him the ball more. We've got to give him more opportunities."
Freelance writer Jake Kreinberg contributed to this report.
Alan Scher Zagier can be reached at http://twitter.com/azagier