October 25, 2006
University, MS (CSTV U-WIRE) -- New developments have come to light in the situation involving several members of the Ole Miss football team at an off-campus location last Thursday.
The university release stated that starting linebacker Garry Pack was dismissed from the team for a "violation of team rules," while LaMark Armour, Hayward Howard, LeRon King and Robert Russell were suspended indefinitely. Fullback Quentin Taylor also quit the team.
Sources close to the Ole Miss football program have revealed that the incident took place at the residence of Armour and Russell at the Sterling University Terrace apartments and that marijuana was involved.
According to the sources, the Oxford Police Department responded to a noise complaint at the apartment complex sometime Thursday night.
The officers on duty arrived at the residence of Armour and Russell and smelled marijuana. Several people in the apartment attempted to flee the scene but were unsuccessful.
The officers proceeded to search the residence and did not find any marijuana. It was determined that the marijuana had been smoked by only some in attendance before the police arrived, and thus no arrests were made.
Numerous attempts to contact Oxford Police Chief Steve Bramlett were unsuccessful, and the police department declined to comment on the situation.
However, Bramlett did speak with The Oxford Eagle Tuesday morning and said that a citation for disturbing the peace had been issued to the tenant of the apartment where the party was held.
Then, according to the sources, after the citation was issued, the police made a phone call to Ole Miss assistant coach Art Kehoe and assistant athletic director for football external affairs Barney Farrar.
Kehoe and Farrar arrived at the complex shortly thereafter, and the players were released into their custody.
The players were then instructed to go to the indoor practice facility on campus where head coach Ed Orgeron met them.
Early Friday morning, all of the players involved in the incident were given a drug test and also did extra conditioning as a punishment for their involvement in the situation.
However, drug tests were also administered at random to several other members of the team. More players than the six mentioned in the release failed the drug tests, but they were not suspended, according to the sources.
This is because of a coaching staff point system that issues different values to certain offenses based on severity.
All except for Howard who were suspended were present at the party.
Howard was one of the players selected at random to receive a test that he proceeded to fail. He was a defensive starter earlier in the season but had fallen out of favor with the coaching staff.
Ole Miss coaches contacted the guardians last week of each player that was involved in the incident and notified them of the situation, according to the sources.
The players were notified of their suspensions Monday morning after the results of the drug test were received. Orgeron issued his statement later that evening.
Pack played in the game last Saturday against No. 15 Arkansas, but he was replaced by freshman Jonathon Cornell early in the first quarter. Taylor did not start the game but did play. The other four players were defensive reserves.
Orgeron was tight-lipped about the situation following Tuesday's practice. "My comments will not be about anything that happened, and I'm keeping everything in house," Orgeron said.
And when asked if the incident would have a negative effect as his team prepares to face No. 7 Auburn this Saturday, the second-year head coach replied, "I'm not discussing that at all."
Phone calls to athletic director Pete Boone and sports information director Langston Rogers were not immediately returned.
(C) 2006 Daily Mississippian via CSTV U-WIRE