There’s biting the hand that feeds, then there’s biting and robbing the hand that feeds. Both transgressions apply to Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle.
While in town to play in the Belk Bowl against the Virginia Tech Hokies, Sprinkle shoplifted from a Belk Store in Charlotte, the store which happens to be the presenting sponsor of the game.
Yet, even that doesn’t tell the entire story. Each player in attendance at the pre-bowl event at the Belk store received a $450 gift card from Belk. Sprinkle apparently could not confine his purchases to within the allotted $450 limit.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema belatedly made a statement about the issue, announcing the decision to suspend Sprinkle and that the team had known about the incident for some time:
“Jeremy’s suspension has been known by our staff and players for several days so we’ve had a chance to prepare our game plan accordingly. Throughout his career and this season as a graduate student-athlete, Jeremy has displayed numerous times the qualities we want to represent our program. We have standards within our family that must be upheld on a daily basis and unfortunately he failed to do that in the last week. Jeremy’s suspension isn’t drug, alcohol or violence related but one that will cause him to miss his final game as a Razorback.”
According to The Comeback, “Sprinkle had a relatively quiet season for the Razorbacks in his first year as a starter, hauling in 33 balls and four touchdowns while battling an ankle injury through much of the year. However, before this incident, Mel Kiper Jr. still ranked him as his No. 7 tight end heading into April’s NFL Draft.”
I imagine the NFL might have some concern about the character of a guy who would steal from the people who gave him money and sponsored his final college football game.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn