University of Maryland officials indefinitely suspended Terry Long and David Gregg from the basketball team yesterday, citing the "seriousness of the crimes" they are accused of in indictments resulting from the investigation into the death of Len Bias.
Long, 22, a center, and Gregg, 19, a forward, each are charged with one count of possessing cocaine and obstructing justice in the cocaine intoxication death of Bias on June 19. Both charges, handed down in indictments last week by a Prince George's County grand jury investigating Bias' death, are misdemeanors.
The suspensions resulted from a meeting Tuesday between Chancellor John B. Slaughter and Athletic Director Dick Dull. Earlier in the week, a university official had said Dull would recommend suspension in light of the indictments.
Slaughter said in a statement that both players will retain their scholarships and remain in school. Slaughter also said that even if Long and Gregg are found innocent, they face the possibility of action by the university's Student Judical Board for possibly violating the student code of conduct.
"If they are found innocent and if they are found in good academic standing, they will be reinstated," Slaughter said. " But they will be subject to any internal disciplinary action taken against them by this campus."
Alan Goldstein, the lawyer for Long and Gregg, said Slaughter notified him of the decision during a phone conversation Tuesday.
"I'm disappointed, but I'm sure when all this is played out they'll be exonerated and reinstated," Goldstein said. He said he had hoped the school would wait until the charges are resolved before acting.
"I wouldn't say it was expected," he said. "But I've seen other cases where this action has been taken. I was hoping they might hold off."
Law enforcement officials have said Long and Gregg were with Bias when he collapsed in his Washington Hall dormitory suite on the Maryland campus. A third person in the room, Brian Lee Tribble, also has been indicted and charged with four counts of possession and distribution of drugs.
The obstruction of justice charges against Long and Gregg result from their alleged efforts to clear the room of evidence before paramedics and police arrived.
Sources have said the Student Judicial Board probably will wait until the criminal charges are resolved before acting. If the board determines that Long and Gregg violated any university rules or regulations, a wide range of penalties could be imposed, including expulsion or suspension.
Dull and Slaughter would not elaborate on the statement. Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell also would not comment.