<
>

Aggies' Pope arrested on DUI charge, suspended indefinitely from team

PITTSBURGH -- New Mexico State basketball player Herb Pope
has been arrested on a charge of driving under the influence of
alcohol and other counts, authorities said.

Pope, 18, was found unresponsive behind the wheel of a car that
was stopped in a traffic lane in Moon, about 15 miles northwest of
Pittsburgh, with its engine running and doors locked at 2:27 a.m.
Friday, according to court documents.

Pope awakened after officers repeatedly tried to rouse him, and
the car then lurched into a police cruiser, authorities said.
Officers broke the driver's side window, shut off the engine,
arrested Pope and took him to a hospital for tests.

Pope then was taken to Allegheny County Jail, where he was
arraigned and released on his own recognizance, authorities said.
In addition to the charge of driving under the influence of alcohol
or drugs, Pope was charged with reckless endangerment, underage
drinking and a traffic offense.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Jan. 8. Family members
reached by The Associated Press on Saturday declined comment.

New Mexico State athletic director McKinley Boston said Saturday
that Pope won't play in Monday's game against Alcorn State and is
suspended indefinitely for violation of university and team rules.

Pope's eligibility was called into question this month by the
NCAA, but the freshman forward sued and a state district judge
signed an order Dec. 21 restraining the NCAA from declaring him
ineligible.

Pope did not play in the Aggies 70-65 loss at Louisville on Dec.
22.

NCAA officials could not be reached for comment Saturday.

State District Judge Jerald Valentine set a Jan. 14 hearing to
determine whether the restraining order against the NCAA should be
continued, said one of Pope's attorneys, Dean Cross of Las Cruces.
He would not comment further.

According to court records, the eligibility question focused on
an alternative education program Pope was taking while in high
school in Pennsylvania, the Las Cruces Sun-News has reported.

A former Aliquippa (Pa.) High School basketball star, Pope was
one of the most heralded recruits nationally last spring.

In March, the 6-foot-8 forward was shot four times in Aliquippa.
A Pittsburgh man pleaded guilty to attempted homicide and was
sentenced to six to 16 years in prison earlier this month.