Maryland RB Wes Brown accepts one-year university suspension


(Toni Sandys / The Washington Post)

UPDATE 5:55 P.M.: Maryland has confirmed that Wes Brown has been suspended.

“We support the University of Maryland’s decision,” Terrapins Coach Randy Edsall said. “I have spoken with Wes. He accepts the sanctions and understands what is expected of him moving forward.”

ORIGINAL POST

Maryland running back Wes Brown will accept a one-year suspension from the University of Maryland, with the possibility of shortening it to one semester by meeting undisclosed “benchmarks,” his lawyer confirmed Friday afternoon.

“He indicated to me that he is willing to accept this,” Jason Shapiro said in a telephone interview. “I will tell you, Wes is looking forward to hitting all of those benchmarks. He is accepted full responsibility for any of his actions, despite the fact that, as the state’s attorney’s office states, his actions were predicated upon an attempted unlawful arrest. He is still accepting the university’s punishment regarding his behavior.

“He is sorry that he will not be on the field with his teammates. He misses the camaraderie of the team and misses the discipline of the coaches. He truly does. I know a lot of people think who’d miss that? But he does. He likes to have his life in order.”

Brown, a rising sophomore, was charged with felony wiretapping, second-degree assault and theft of less than $1,000 stemming from a July 3 incident with University of Maryland police and a Baltimore city police detective. Brown was being questioned as a “person of interest” connected with a non-fatal shooting in June outside a Baltimore nightclub. This week, Shapiro emphatically denied his client’s involvement in the matter, saying he has “nothing to do with the investigation.” Baltimore city police have not returned messages for comment.

On Monday, Prince George’s prosecutors dropped all charges against Brown. However, the University of Maryland judicial system can hand out suspensions for violations of its student code of conduct, which lists 19 actions subject to disciplinary measures. The suspension is related entirely to the July 3 incident.

According to Shapiro, Brown will enroll at a local community college for “two or three”  general education classes while working to achieve the aforementioned benchmarks. Those could include community service, but Shapiro declined to specify, citing ongoing discussions with Maryland.

As a true freshman from Good Counsel, Brown rushed for 382 yards — second on the team — and two touchdowns last season, but battled an ankle injury and missed the final three games. He sat out this spring after undergoing shoulder surgery.

“He has vowed that he will come back in the spring 100 percent healed from his injuries he had last year, which he told me he’s about 90-95 percent there now,” Shapiro said. “He’s going to be 100 percent healed and come in spring in absolutely the final football shape of his life. He’s dedicated to doing what he needs to do, to make the suspension one semester as opposed to one year, and to come back as a serious student and the best football shape of his life.”

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Brown declined to pursue the matter through the university’s legal system, which would have included either appearing before a judicial council of his peers or one administrator. He also could have appealed the decision had it gone against him. But an initial hearing would not have taken place until late August.

By that time, even if Brown had been cleared, he would have been forced to miss Maryland’s season opener against Florida International on Aug. 31 after sitting out spring and summer training camps, and likely would not have returned to the practice field until Labor Day. By achieving the set benchmarks, missing only one semester and returning next spring, Brown will have effectively served a redshirt season. “Think of it in that regard,” Shapiro said.

Speaking on behalf of Brown, Shapiro relayed the running back’s sentiments. “All in all,” Shapiro said Brown told him, “everything has been a blessing.”

“He’s taking a situation and trying to turn it into something good,” Shapiro said.

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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