Four Missouri athletes arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession

Monday, March 17, 2014 | 5:15 p.m. CDT; updated 7:50 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

COLUMBIA — Four Missouri athletes were arrested late Saturday night on suspicion of marijuana possession.

The athletes — basketball guards Wesley Clark and Shane Rector and football defensive backs Shaun Rupert and Aarion Penton — were released on signature summons at the scene.

Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith said Clark and Rector are suspended for the moment, but he also said he hasn't decided whether they will play in Tuesday's first-round National Invitational Tournament game.

At 11:32 p.m. Saturday, police pulled over a vehicle with expired license plates near Commerce Bank on East Broadway, Columbia Police spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said. Rupert was driving; Penton was the front passenger; and Clark and Rector were sitting in the back.

The officer noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, Stroer said.

Officers found a Swisher Sweet cigarillos package in the car that held 35 grams or less of marijuana, Stroer said. Possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor, according to Section 16-253 of the Columbia Code of Ordinances.

Clark and Rector are freshman reserves for the basketball team, which will play against Davidson College on Tuesday in the tournament.

Rupert is a redshirt freshman safety for the football team, and Penton is a sophomore cornerback.

An MU spokesman said a decision on the players' statuses will be made after further review.

"Per athletic policy, all individuals were suspended indefinitely upon us learning about incident," Missouri athletics department spokesman Chad Moller said Monday afternoon in a text message. "Status going forward to be determined upon internal review."

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