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GMU’s Andre Cornelius pleads guilty to credit card fraud, is suspended for 10 games

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George Mason University suspended basketball player Andre Cornelius for 10 games Monday after the senior guard pleaded guilty to credit card fraud.

“The judicial process has been completed, and Andre will be able to move forward practicing with the team and working towards his degree,” Patriots Coach Paul Hewitt said in a written statement. “He has admitted that he made a mistake and accepted responsibility for it.”

Cornelius, who started every game last season and was the team’s fourth-leading scorer at 9.5 points per game, is eligible to return for the Dec. 21 game against Duquesne.

The suspension coincides with the end of the fall academic semester.

“I made a mistake, and as a result, I have lost the opportunity to do one of the things I love the most — play basketball at George Mason,” Cornelius said in a written statement. “I accept this punishment and will work as hard as possible to support my team and get ready to make an impact when I come back.”

During the suspension, he is allowed to practice and participate in team activities but will not attend road games.

Pending the outcome of the legal process, Cornelius had not been permitted to work out with the team but did sit on the bench during a preseason exhibition against Lycoming last week.

The Patriots, picked to finish second in the Colonial Athletic Association, will open the season Friday at home against Rhode Island. Cornelius, who is 5 feet 10 and made a team-high 61 three-pointers last season, will also miss the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament, which might include games against Virginia Tech and Syracuse.

He ranks seventh in George Mason history in three-point percentage (39.1) and 10th in three-pointers made (138 in 98 games).

His career high was seven at UNC Wilmington last winter.

In Cornelius’s absence, the Patriots will rely on sophomores Vertrail Vaughns and Sherrod Wright for outside shooting.

Cornelius was arrested in September and charged with credit card larceny and credit card fraud of less than $200. He pleaded guilty to the fraud charge, a misdemeanor, and received a six-month sentence, all of which was suspended.

The larceny charge, a felony, was dropped.

His attorney, Manuel Capsalis, said he didn’t want to comment.

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