Nebraska LB Vedral Suspended

Thursday, May 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska linebacker Mark Vedral was suspended from the team Tuesday after being arraigned in Lancaster County Court on a charge of first-degree sexual assault.

Vedral, 21, who is accused of having sex with a woman while she slept in his roommate's bed, did not speak and showed no emotion during the arraignment.

He was charged by Lancaster County prosecutors earlier Tuesday. Vedral faces a preliminary hearing June 14 on the assault charge, which carries a penalty of up to 50 years in prison.

Nebraska coach Frank Solich announced Vedral's suspension.

``Until his situation is resolved, he will not be allowed to participate in team practice or competition,'' Solich said.

According to the arrest report: the woman told police she was asleep in the bed of Vedral's roommate early Saturday when Vedral began having sex with her. The woman woke up and discovered Vedral, not his roommate, in bed with her.

Vedral, of Gregory, S.D., told police he stopped and left the room when the woman became upset and told him to stop.

Vedral was released on $10,000 bail Monday after spending Saturday and Sunday in jail and ordered to have no contact with the woman.

John Sohl, Vedral's lawyer, declined to comment.

Vedral, who played as a backup and on special teams in all 13 games last season as a sophomore, nearly earned a starting job in spring practice. He and Randy Stella were both listed as the top weakside linebackers headed into the fall.

UNL Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Jim Griesen said the decision to suspend Vedral from the team was Solich's, although Griesen and the director of student judicial affairs are authorized to issue disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis.

Vedral also could face disciplinary action from the school, including suspension.

``We can't decide this until we have sufficient knowledge of the case to make a decision,'' Griesen said. ``It's just too early in the whole process.''

In 1996, a university task force recommendation called for an athlete charged with a felony or violent misdemeanor to be suspended from competition until the case is resolved. That recommendation was made after well-publicized arrests of former Nebraska football players Lawrence Phillips and Christian Peter in the mid-1990s.

Vedral is the second player in the last year to be suspended from the team because of accusations of off-campus misconduct. Former wingback Shevin Wiggins missed the extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted him last spring when he was suspended last year.

Solich suspended Wiggins after his arrest in August on a charge of sexual assault of a child. He had been accused of fondling a 14-year-old girl.

Wiggins, best remembered for kicking the ball that teammate Matt Davison caught in the end zone to force overtime in the Huskers' 1997 win at Missouri, remained suspended as long as his case was pending.

Wiggins pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in February, more than a month after the season ended.