Arkansas tight end Sprinkle suspended before Belk Bowl
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Arkansas senior tight end Jeremy Sprinkle was suspended from the Belk Bowl game Thursday night against No. 18 Virginia Tech after police accused him of shoplifting from the department store that sponsors the game.
Sprinkle was charged by Charlotte Mecklenburg Police with shoplifting by concealment Tuesday at the Belk department store and was released.
As a perk of the game, Belk gave players on both teams a $450 gift card to one of their department stores and 90 minutes to spend it. The police report indicates that Sprinkle shoplifted $260 worth of merchandise.
Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema announced the decision to suspend Sprinkle about two hours before the game.
''Jeremy's suspension has been known by our staff and players for several days so we've had a chance to prepare our game plan accordingly,'' Bielema said in a statement. ''Throughout his career and this season as a graduate student-athlete, Jeremy has displayed numerous times the qualities we want to represent our program.''
Sprinkle had 33 receptions for 380 yards and four touchdowns and is projected as one of the top 10 tight ends available in next year's NFL draft.