Incoming freshmen linebacker Josh Shirley, wide receiver Paul Richardson and cornerback Shaquille Richardson were dismissed from the UCLA football team today after the three players were arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of felony theft.
“The three young men know they made a terrible mistake,” Neuheisel said in a release. “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.”
Neuheisel has left the window open for a return to the program in January if the players meet requirements set by the team. However, the Office of the Dean of Students might impose additional discipline.
The three players were arrested near Hedrick Hall by University Police, reportedly on suspicion of stealing a purse. They were charged with suspicion of felony theft and released on Thursday, the Richardsons receiving $20,000 bail, while Shirley received none.
It is a sharp turn of events, particularly for Shirley, who was expected to compete for a spot on the depth chart after a fantastic senior season at Kaiser of Fontana. Shirley, rated the No. 12 outside linebacker in the class of 2010 by Scout.com, shocked the football community by signing with UCLA on Feb. 3. Most recruiting analysts believed he had ruled out the Bruins.
Shaq and Paul Richardson, meanwhile, were expected to redshirt this season, as they were to enter positions of strength. Shaq Richardson was rated the No. 27 cornerback out of Los Alamitos High School, while Paul Richardson was rated the No. 22 wide receiver out of Serra High of Gardena.