Maryland football star George Scott, who pleaded no contest to two drug charges in court yesterday, has been dismissed from school for academic reasons, football Coach Jerry Claiborne revealed yesterday.
"We just got word today that George did not pass enough courses in summer school to remain in school this fall," Claiborne said after practice yesterday. "As far as I'm concerned, the less said about the whole matter the better."
Scott's dismissal from school came on the same day that he pleaded nolo contendere (no contest) to charges of possession of marijuana and to possession of cocaine in Prince George's County District Court.
The judge said the plea means that Scott did not contest the allegations made in the two charges, but at the same time was not convicted of any crime.
"Things went about the way I expected them to in court," Scott said last night. "I wasn't really surprised by what happened and neither was Coach Claiborne.
"He and I sat down and talked tonight and he just tried to tell me to stay away from the kinds of people who can get you in trouble. Right now, my No. 1 priority is finding a job so I can earn some money."
Scott said he planned to remain in this area and hoped to return to Maryland to get his degree in the future. "If I have a regret it's that I didn't concentrate harder on my academics," he said. "I'm sorry all this happened. But I hope I can learn from it. I think overall, I was treated fairly by everyone."
Scott, who would have been a junior in terms of eligibility this fall, was arrested June 14 by campus police who were executing a search warrent for Scott's dormitory room. Police found small amounts of marijuana and cocaine and some drug paraphernalia in the room.
Officer P.I. Pollack of the campus police department testified in court yesterday that police sought the warrant for Scott's room after taking verbal and written statements from Karen Polly, 22, whom Scott described to police as "an old girlfriend."
In accepting the nolo contendere plea, Judge Sylvania Woods set three conditions: Scott must go through 12 months of unsupervised probation without further incident, he must attend classes on the dangers involved in using drugs and he must perform 10 days of community services.
Claiborne had been counting on Scott to replace departed tailback Steve Atkins. As a sophomore in 1977, Scott set several school records while replacing the injured Atkins. Scott sat out last season with a knee injury.
ScottS arrest came after Polly called police and claimed that Scott had threatened her with a metal cane, Pollack testified. Pollack said that when Polly came to police headquarters to give a statement, she told police that earlier that day she had seen Scott sell marijuana to two people, and added that she had seen Scott using drugs "in excess of 25 times."
Based on that information, Pollack said, police obtained the search warrant.
Defense lawyer Richard A. James, who initially entered innocent pleas to all three charges against Scott -- a charge of conspiracy to distribute marijuana was dropped as part of the plea bargaining -- argued that police did not have probable cause to obtain a warrant.
But Woods rejected the motion to suppress all evidence obtained from execution of the warrant. At that point, James met with Prosecutor Richard Harvey to work out a plea bargain.
Earlier, Woods also rejected a motion by James that would have excluded the press and public from the trial.
James claimed that a recent Supreme Court ruling allowing the exclusion of the press and public from pretrial hearings was relevant in Scott's case because he was scheduled to go before a university judicial board next month as a result of the incident.
But Woods rejected James' argument, saying, "This is a trial, not a pretrial hearing."
Scott's mother had to have a foot amputated during the summer because of diabetes.
James and Scott were unaware during the trial that he had been dismissed from school.
"I'm going to call Coach Caliborne right now and see what this means," James said. "The most important thing now is to try to get George back playing football."
But the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Scott will not play for Maryland this fall, Claiborne said. His departure leaves sophomore Charlie Wysocki, who saw limited action last season, as Maryland's first-string tailback.
Prosecutor Harvey opposed the nolo contendere pleas, arguing that Scott was "clearly guilty of these charges."
"The defendant, by his own admission, is not a casual user of drugs," Harvey said. Reading from a statement that he said Scott gave to police after his arrest, Harvey said, "starting last Saturday (five days before the arrest), I started to sell marijuana in small quantities to people around the dormitory. I picked up four ounces at $30 an ounce from (another student) and sold three of them."
Scott is a native of Inwood, N.Y. He was attending summer school at the time of his arrest.