Price out for season; Williams can return in December
STORRS, Conn. -- Connecticut suspended guard A.J. Price for the entire 2005-06 season as a result of his arrest on charges of trying to sell stolen laptops this summer, but has allowed co-defendant Marcus Williams to return to the team in December.
University officials announced the school-imposed sanctions on Friday.
Under the penalties handed down by the university's director of judicial affairs, the two point guards have been kicked out of campus housing and dining halls -- Price for three years and Williams until next August.
They also have been suspended for the 2005-06 academic year, but those suspensions were held in abeyance, meaning they can attend classes but could be expelled if they fail to meet several conditions. Price, a redshirt freshman, will return to classes in the spring semester, while Williams has been attending classes this semester.
Williams, a junior guard, can rejoin the team on Dec. 17 and will be available for the Jan. 3 game at Marquette.
The players also must complete several hours of community service, under the school penalties.
In their criminal cases, both applied for a special form of probation for first-time offenders. Williams was given 18 months of probation and must serve 400 hours of community service. Price's application for accelerated rehabilitation is pending and he is due back in court Nov. 15. Under the program, criminal charges are erased if defendants successfully complete the probation.
Price has yet to play a minute of college ball since arriving on campus last year. The Amityville (N.Y.) High School star led that team to a pair of state championships and averaged 28.5 points his senior year. But he suffered a brain hemorrhage in October 2004 during his freshman year at UConn and has not yet been medically cleared to play.
Williams missed most of the 2003-04 national championship season because of academic problems.
In statements released Friday, the players expressed remorse and apologized for their actions, saying they were eager to prove they were worthy of getting a second chance.
"Although this has been a negative experience, I will use it as a positive opportunity to move forward both in my capacity as a student and an athlete," Price said.
Williams said he regretted the embarrassment he caused for his family, coaches and fans.
"Most importantly," Williams said, "I want to apologize to my teammates for the difficult position that I have put them through."
The laptops were stolen between June 9 and June 14. Both players were arrested on larceny charges, and Price also was charged with lying to police, a misdemeanor.
The four laptops, which have a total value of $11,000, have been recovered. Two were recovered in Price's room.
Arrest warrant affidavits suggest that a friend of Williams', who does not attend the university, stole the computers from dorm rooms belonging to incoming freshmen on the women's basketball team and a member of last year's women's track and field team. That person has not been charged.
Coach Jim Calhoun suspended the pair indefinitely from all team activities after their arrests in August. He called the university judicial process a fair and deliberate one.
"I have said since the beginning of this process that we should never be in the business of abandoning young men who have made a mistake and I am glad that we will not be doing that," Calhoun said.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press