NCAA Eases Marshall Suspensions

Saturday, September 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ The NCAA will wait at least a week before hearing Marshall's appeal of the suspension of a dozen football players for receiving extra benefits.

Marshall and the NCAA have not said what the benefits were or who gave them. The school said the benefits were given before February 2000.

The university will be allowed to stagger the suspensions, meaning only six players are expected to miss Saturday's game against top-ranked Florida, two newspapers reported Saturday.

``The reinstatement staff has agreed that Marshall can stagger the suspensions,'' NCAA spokesman Wally Renfro told the Charleston Daily Mail.

Renfro said the NCAA infractions committee allowed Marshall to stagger the suspensions over the season because there are so many.

Marshall coach Bob Pruett told the Herald Dispatch of Huntington that half the suspended players will be allowed to play. The names of those suspended will not be distributed before the game.

According to the NCAA, two football players must sit out one game; 10 players will miss three games. In addition, two basketball players must miss eight games of the upcoming season.

Quarterback Byron Leftwich, who passed for 3,358 yards and 21 touchdowns last season, is not involved.

The Charleston Gazette reported Saturday that Marshall will be without running back Brandon Carey and Franklin Wallace, starting defensive tackle Marlan Hicks and backup wide receiver Denero Marriott.

Pruett would not say whether they were out because or injury or suspension. He said he wanted to wait until the NCAA hears Marshall's appeal.

Wallace led the team in rushing last season with 555 yards and was expected to start against Florida. Instead, junior Chanston Rodgers, who was the starter at the beginning of the 2000 season before being injured, will be the only veteran running back available.