Suspensions loom over football spring practice

Baylor spring football practice has begun, and the Bears are without four players due to suspension — three of which could be involved in a sexual assault investigation moving forward.

Sophomore linebacker Eric Ogor, junior safety Tre’von Lewis, freshman defensive end Justin Harris and freshman safety John Arthur are all suspended for spring football practice for different disciplinary reasons, said Rhule.

A report by ESPN on Tuesday indicated that three Baylor football players were suspended due to sexual assault allegations stemming from an incident in November involving members of the Baylor Equestrian team.

Rhule said the players who were involved have been suspended, but he would not specify which of the four were involved, and said the case is out of his hands.

“I don’t know much about the case. I’m the football coach,” Rhule said. “I handle football. Anybody who is alleged to be involved is separated from the team. That, to me, seems to be the right thing. There’s no hiding. It’s been very transparent from this side.”

Ogor appeared in 10 games this season and racked up 27 total tackles and two sacks while the other three players all redshirted. Ogor did not play in the team’s final two games.

Rhule said the three players with sexual assault allegations against them are still enrolled, but their future status is still uncertain.

“I think they are all up in the air right now.” Rhule said. “Due to the way I’ve done it in the past and also student privacy laws, I probably won’t be able to say much more.”

This is the first sexual assault allegation under Rhule, who was hired following the university’s fallout with head coach Art Briles involving multiple sexual assault investigations.

Rhule said the football team and university are being transparent and not covering anything up to create a better culture.

“You can either hide it from all you guys, or you can be very transparent about things,” Rhule said. “When things have happened with our players, we’ve tried to deal with it the right way. There’s a bad culture when kids do bad things and grown-ups hide them. There’s no hiding here.”

In addition to the suspended players, the Bears will be without running back Dru Dixon, punter Drew Galitz, fullback Kyle Boyd, wide receiver Chris Platt, offensive lineman Rob Saulin and wide receiver Pooh Stricklin, all of whom are dealing with injuries.

Rhule said the suspensions and injuries will give others an opportunity to step up.

“I think every year I’ve gone into spring with a couple guys suspended and couple injured,” Rhule said. “It’s going to give an opportunity to a lot of guys to go out there and prove what they can do. I think we have enough guys.”

Baylor will hold its annual Green and Gold spring game on April 21 at McLane Stadium.