Howell pleads no contest to domestic violence charges

Updated: October 9, 2003, 7:28 PM ET

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina basketball center Rolando Howell pleaded no contest to domestic violence charges Thursday and was ordered to pay a $50 fine and complete a 26-week counseling program.

Howell was arrested Aug. 9 at the apartment he shared with his girlfriend, Mary Jones, who told deputies that he grabbed her neck, pulled her hair and hit her in the face.

After he completes the domestic abuse counseling program and pays the fine, his 30-day jail sentence will be suspended.

"I have apologized to the young lady," the senior said Thursday. "And today I apologize to the public and loyal Gamecocks supporters. I made a mistake ... and I am accepting responsibility for my mistake."

Howell, who averaged 10 points and 6.3 rebounds a game last season, was suspended from the Gamecocks after his arrest. Coach Dave Odom said the school will review the situation and determine Howell's status on the team.

The Gamecocks start the season against Gardner Webb on Nov. 17.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index