Dunlap to miss SEC championship game

Updated: December 2, 2009, 9:37 PM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Florida Gators starting defensive end Carlos Dunlap was arrested and charged with driving under the influence early Tuesday morning in Gainesville.

Florida coach Urban Meyer announced after practice Tuesday evening that Dunlap has been suspended indefinitely from the team and will not play for the No. 1 Gators against No. 2 Alabama for the SEC Championship on Saturday in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

Meyer says he is "stunned" by Dunlap's actions.

"Carlos obviously made a very poor decision," Meyer said. "I have not spoke to him or his family yet. He's not going to play. But I want to visit with him and his family first and go from there."

Meyer acknowledged that the situation was a distraction as his team prepares for a matchup that has national championship implications. But he also said his players might be able to overcome it, much like they did flulike symptoms and linebacker Brandon Spikes' suspension for dirty play.

"We've had distraction after distraction," Meyer said. "This is a rather serious one, obviously, so it is a distraction. Sometimes this team's found ways to get a little tighter in distractions. We've had a few of them this year."

Dunlap, a junior from North Charleston, S.C., was arrested at 3:25 a.m. near campus and was booked into the jail at 5:52 a.m., Gainesville Police Department spokesman Lt. Keith Kameg said.

He was released on his own recognizance about six hours later during his initial appearance at the Alachua County Jail. Judge Mary Day Coker admonished Dunlap for underage drinking, and said he cannot possess alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs that are not prescribed for him.

He was told not to drive a motor vehicle without a license, and if caught driving without a license, he would violate the terms of his release. The judge released Dunlap without bond because he has no prior adjudications and no failures to appear in court.

Wearing a jail-issued, green-and-white striped jumpsuit, Dunlap spoke softly when asked questions and always replied "Yes, ma'am," to the judge.

"We are aware of the incident and are currently gathering more information," Florida athletics spokesman Steve McClain said Tuesday morning.

Kameg said officers responded to a reckless driving complaint and found Dunlap's 2000 Chrysler stopped at a traffic light near the 200 block of W. 34th Street.

Kameg said officers found Dunlap's car stopped at a green light.

"They approached the car and found the suspect slumped over in the driver's seat," Kameg said. "He appeared to be asleep. The car's windows were cracked so they attempted to wake him up. They talked to him and he would only open his eyes for a few seconds and then fall back asleep."

Kameg said officers were able to unlock the car and turn off the ignition. Kameg said officers reported that Dunlap "had trouble listening to instructions." He was given a field sobriety test and performed "poorly," according to Kameg. He refused to take a Breathalyzer at the scene, Kameg said.

Dunlap, a 6-foot-6, 290-pound defensive end who is considered a potential first-round draft choice if he leaves Florida after this season, has 35 tackles, including 8½ tackles for loss, and is tied for the team lead with seven sacks. He was named MVP of the 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship Game, in which the Gators defeated Oklahoma 24-14 to win their second BCS title in three seasons.

Mark Schlabach covers college football for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN.com's Chris Low and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Mark Schlabach | email

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