CHAPEL HILL --- University of North Carolina football players Adarius Bowman, Fred Sparkman and Isaiah Thomas have been suspended indefinitely from all team activities. The suspensions are a result of their alleged roles in an incident late Sunday evening in which they were cited for simple possession of marijuana by UNC public safety officers.

Bowman is a sophomore wide receiver from Chattanooga, Tenn., Sparkman is a sophomore linebacker from Columbia, Tenn., and Thomas is a sophomore defensive tackle from Winston-Salem, N.C. "I can't remember a time when I was more disappointed," says head coach John Bunting. "The last thing we need after an exciting win like we had Saturday evening was an off-the-field situation that would embarrass the University and this football program. The young men involved will not play until Director of Athletics Dick Baddour and I determine otherwise. It is important to note that all three student-athletes deny their involvement with these charges and we are looking into that at this time. "Our seniors have demonstrated good leadership all year and I expect they will once again step forward to meet this challenge. I'm proud of the young men who are making the right choices each day to make this program successful."

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Football players still suspended
CITY EDITORIssue date: 1/21/05 Section: CityPrintEmail Article Tools Page 1 of 1 The future of the University’s three suspended football players remains unknown.

Wide receiver Adarius Bowman, defensive tackle Isaiah Thomas and linebacker Fred Sparkman — all sophomores — have not rejoined the Tar Heels since their Oct. 10 arrests on one count each of simple possession of marijuana.

All three continue to be suspended, said Steve Kirschner, associate director of sports communications.

“As soon as we determine their future, we’ll let you know,” he said.

Thomas and Sparkman were scheduled to defend their charges Thursday in Orange County District Court. Bowman had already been cleared of his charge at the players’ first appearance in November.

Although Thomas did appear Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Beverly Scarlett said neither case was resolved. Both will remain open.

All three were arrested Oct. 10 in Thomas’ room in Connor Residence Hall and charged with simple possession of marijuana.

University police seized 5.8 grams of marijuana from the room when they arrested the players, according to reports.

Scarlett struck a deal with Thomas and Sparkman at their November appearance: If they completed a 15-hour drug education program before Thursday, their charges would be dropped.

“Maybe there wasn’t enough time to complete (the program),” said Thomas’ attorney, Michael A. Grace,, who was not required to appear with Thomas on Thursday because of the weather. “Those can be hard to schedule.”

Grace said he was unsure if Thomas had completed the program, but added that as soon as he did, the charge would likely be dropped.

The players’ suspensions from the team could be more difficult to clear up.

Kirschner said he did not know how much impact the results of the players’ cases would have on their suspensions. “We do it on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Kirschner added that there has been a lot of contact between the players and the Department of Athletics since the suspensions.

Grace said that even if his client completes the program and is cleared of the charge, he still might not be in uniform next year.

“The athletic director still has the ability to revoke his scholarship.”

Staff writer Eren Tataragasi contributed to this story.

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