Jerry Claiborne, the University of Maryland football coach, said last night he would not make any decision on whether to take disciplinary action against running back George Scott, arrested Thursday on drug charges, "until I know all the facts and have talked to George Scott."
But Claiborne, reached at his sister's home in Kentucky, would not rule out disciplinary action against Scott.
"I never make decisions until I know all the facts and I don't know all the facts yet," Claiborne said. "As soon as I get back I'm going to sit down and talk to him about this."
Claiborne said his decision on whether to take action against Scott would not be predicated on any court action or action by the university but on whether or not Scott had broken team rules.
Beyond saying that the team has no written rules, Claiborne would not discuss which ones - if any - Scott might have violated.
"Our rules are for our football team, not for the public," Claiborne said.
"I'm sorry this happened," Claiborne said. "I'm concerned for George. I'm always concerned when one of our players has a problem, and I'm concerned for our football team.
"But I'm a realist and I know when you get this many people, especially young people, together, things like this happen. You don't like it but you accept the fact that it may happen."
Athletic Director Carl James said Scott "is innocent until proven guilty" and said disciplinary action against the star tailback would be left to Claiborne.
"I'm very sad for George Scott that this has happened because the obvious impact on him is certainly not good and from the spinoff the affects certainly aren't good for Maryland athletics or Maryland football either," James said.
Scott was arrested in his dormitory room just before 4 a.m. Thursday after campus police arrived with a search warrant. They said they found marijuana and cocaine in the room. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of marijuana and cocaine and maintenance of a public nuisance for using his room to distribute the drugs.
University sources said yesterday that police raided the room after receiving a 3 a.m. phoen call from a female friend of Scott's. James would say only that "there were a number of circumstances involved which we're checking into."
Scott was released on his own recognizance. The case probably will be presented to the Prince George's County grand jury for possible indictments later this month.
Scott also could face disciplinary action from the university. Gary Pavella, director of Maryland's judicial programs, said yesterday it is standard procedure when a student is arrested for his case to be turned over to a five-student hearing board.
"We go along on the assumption that there will be a hearing until one of the attorneys in the case gives us a compelling reason not to," Pavella said.
Pavella added that the disposition of the case in the court system would not affect the hearing. He said that a hearing board could recommend punishments ranging from a reprimand to expulsion.
Ironically, James sent a memo to all university coaches earlier this week asking them to take extra precautions and warn their team members about possible drug busts.
"I was just pointing out that there have been drug raids at local schools in the area and re-emphasized the fact that drugs are a very real problem in athletics today and asked them to make that point strongly to their teams," James said.
Scott had been counted on to replace star running back Steve Atkins next season. He sat out last season with a stress fracture in his right shin after leading the team in rushing as a sophomore with 894 yards, including a school-record 237 yards in 42 carries against Villanova.
Scott has been attending summer school and has two years of eligiblity remaining. James said the university has no plans to investigate the football team for possible drug activities because the incident happened during summer school and Scott is not living in an athletic dormitory.