Pierce's punishment meted out by coach, teammates

Updated: September 3, 2003, 10:02 PM ET
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas fullback Mark Pierce has been suspended for a game, coach Houston Nutt said Wednesday.

Nutt met with senior captains to receive their input as to whether to lengthen Pierce's suspension from a half to the whole game.

On Tuesday, the captains meted out their own punishment by making Pierce run for 30 minutes after practice. Senior receiver George Wilson and senior defensive end Justin Scott, both captains, had to help Pierce leave the field after the running.

Sophomore Brandon Kennedy will start in Pierce's place and fourth-string tailback Kyle Dickerson could play some fullback, too.

"The seniors wanted to suspend him for a half, but I decided it should be for the game," Nutt said. "We're going to take away one of the most important things in his life. It hurts, but he's got to make good decisions. We're going to try to go forward and move on and get ready to play a game this weekend against Tulsa."

Pierce was arrested on misdemeanor charges after he became belligerent with police officers, yelled at them and used obscenities, a police report says.

Officers said Pierce, 21, became verbally combative when they approached Arkansas softball player Stephanie Hunter about underage drinking at a Dickson Street bar Sunday.

When police confronted Hunter, Pierce "approached me in an agitated manner yelling an obscenity with a beer in his hand," Fayetteville police officer Bruce Dever-Boaz said in the report, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Wednesday.

When officers could not get Pierce to stop yelling and using obscenities, he was arrested, according to the officers.

Pierce was arrested on charges of obstructing a governmental operation and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. He posted bond and was released.

Hunter, 20, was arrested on suspicion of illegal possession of alcohol, public intoxication and fleeing, all misdemeanors. She also posted bond Sunday. She has been suspended indefinitely from the team, assistant athletic director Bill Smith said.

After Wednesday's practice, Nutt said the team worked on polishing Saturday's game plan.

"We worked on a lot of the small details and making sure everybody knows their assignments," he said. "I'm excited about the way we practiced today."

Arkansas and Tulsa kick off at 6 p.m. at Fayetteville.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press