Missouri basketball players Wes Clark and Shane Rector and Missouri football players Aarion Penton and Shaun Rupert were arrested on suspicion of possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana Saturday night.
Clark and Rector, both freshman guards, were suspended from the team Monday afternoon, missing practice. Missouri coach Frank Haith said it hadn’t been determined if the two would play in Tuesday’s NIT game against Davidson.
The four student athletes were in a car driven by Rupert when Columbia Police pulled them over for an expired license plate at 501 E. Broadway in the Commerce Bank Parking lot, police department spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said in an email Monday afternoon.
When the officer went to talk to Rupert, he or she smelled marijuana as he approached the vehicle. The officer found marijuana in a Swisher Sweet Cigarillo package, Stroer said.
Haith will only have seven scholarship players available if Clark and Rector cannot play. Tony Criswell, who faces legal trouble of his own, hasn’t played since Missouri’s March 8 game at Tennessee.
“You want me to dress out?” Haith said. “Who else can I put in? Yes, depth could be a problem.”
If Clark and Rector don’t play Tuesday, Jordan Clarkson might have to play all 40 minutes at point guard. He said that when players get hurt or suspended, it just means the other players need to step up.
Clark, a freshman guard, averaged four points, two rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes per game this season. Rector, another freshman guard, contributed less, averaging just four minutes per game.
Haith wouldn’t say if he knew of his players’ legal troubles when he met with the media Sunday night.
“I didn’t know about it soon enough,” Haith said.
Missouri Athletics spokesman Chad Moller said that Penton and Rupert were suspended indefinitely.
Penton, who will be a sophomore next season, started two games last year and is listed as the starting cornerback on Missouri’s spring depth chart. He racked up 16 tackles and added an interception. Rupert, a redshirt freshman from Montgomery, Ala., is listed as a third-string safety.