ECU suspends two for Liberty Bowl

Updated: January 1, 2010, 8:55 PM ET
By Graham Watson | ESPN.com

East Carolina announced Friday that redshirt freshman defensive back Leonard Paulk and junior running back Jonathan Williams have been suspended indefinitely from the football program for a violation of team policy and will miss Saturday's AutoZone Liberty Bowl against Arkansas.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that Paulk and Williams scuffled during the AutoZone Liberty Bowl awards luncheon and nearly flipped over a table while fighting over a dessert. According to the paper, one player had the other in a headlock and was hitting him.

Both East Carolina and Arkansas' players, coaches and administration members were in attendance as well as bowl officials and dignitaries.

"We had an incident yesterday that as a football coach I've taken about 24 hours to look at, to research and get into amongst our team," East Carolina coach Skip Holtz told the media covering the event. "I have made the decision to suspend two players for this game. I will suspend running back Jon Williams and defensive back Leonard Paulk. I think both players were equally wrong in this incident. So we have made the decision to suspend them both indefinitely."

Williams rushed for 38 yards on 14 carries in just six games before suffering a knee injury in early October. Williams is no stranger to trouble. He's been suspended twice since October 2008.

Paulk played in all 13 games this season as a reserve cornerback and member of the Pirates' special teams.

"At this point, it would be premature to discuss any further action or possible off-season ramifications regarding this team issue," Holtz said in a statement released by the school. "We'll address this at home after the game, and if there's a status change in the future, we'll publicly announce it at the appropriate time."

Graham Watson is an ESPN.com football blogger. She can be reached at gwatson.espn@gmail.com.

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College Football
Watson joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four seasons covering the Missouri Tigers and the Big 12 Conference for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She also covered college football recruiting for the Dallas Morning News.