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UCLA dismisses three incoming freshmen football players accused of theft

Paul Richardson, Shaquille Richardson and Joshua Shirley will not be allowed to enroll for the fall quarter; they may be allowed to return in January. Police allege they took a student's backpack.

June 29, 2010|By Baxter Holmes

UCLA has dismissed three incoming freshmen football players after they were arrested last week on suspicion of felony theft.

Paul Richardson, Shaquille Richardson and Joshua Shirley, all 18, were informed Tuesday morning that they would not be allowed to continue summer school or enroll at UCLA for the fall quarter. However, each of the players is still bound by their letter of intent to UCLA, school spokesman Marc Dellins said.

If the players meet certain requirements set by Coach Rick Neuheisel, they may be allowed to return to UCLA in January. But they also face possible additional discipline by the university's dean of students.

The Richardsons are cousins. Paul is a wide receiver from Gardena Serra High, and Shaquille is a defensive back from Los Alamitos. Shirley is a linebacker from Fontana Kaiser. Each of the players was ranked as a top-50 recruit at their position by various scouting services.

Police allege the players stole a female student's backpack from a storage locker outside the dining area of the Hedrick Hall dormitory last Wednesday afternoon. The contents were worth about $1,200, according to Nancy Greenstein, a spokesperson for UCLA's campus police.

The players were arrested later the same day and booked into L.A. County Jail, then released early Thursday. The Richardsons each posted $20,000 bail. Shirley was released without bail.

"The three young men know they made a terrible mistake," Neuheisel said in a statement released by UCLA. "We expect our players to behave a certain way, and there are consequences when they don't. Paul, Shaquille and Josh are paying a steep price for their lapse in judgment. They will not be allowed to enroll in school this fall and will not have the opportunity to begin their UCLA academic and athletic careers.

"Whether they are allowed to enroll for winter quarter will be determined at a later date. That decision will be based on several factors, including their behavior."

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