EUGENE -- A University of Oregon linebacker was arrested over the weekend for allegedly driving drunk and Monday morning he learned that he was getting pulled from the team roster, too.
University of Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso, 19, was cited early Saturday for DUII, driving without insurance, failure to maintain a lane, an improper turn, and minor in possession, according to Eugene police.
Late Monday morning, school officials announced that Alonso was suspended from the entire 2010 Ducks football season, effective immediately.
Head Coach Chip Kelly said that specific details regarding Alonso s involvement within the program during the suspension were still being formulated, but that the suspension would definitely exclude the Los Gatos, Calif., redshirt freshman from playing in any games during the entire 2010 season.
The sophomore from Los Gatos, Calif., was stopped at a 7-Eleven on East Broadway about 2:19 a.m., said police spokeswoman Melinda Kletzok, after he was observed by police driving erratically.
After the arrest, Alonso's car was towed and an unspecificed person came to pick him up. He faces a March 4 appearance.
The school's media guide said Alonso was in 11 games last year, making 15 tackles and forcing one fumble. He also was described as top special teams player. He wore number 47 as seen in the news video clip.
Coach defends football program
Alonso's citation comes just after a press conference by coach Chip Kelly addressed a string of off-the-field problems by his players.
If a player doesn t live up to the standards we have for the football program, then they re not going to be here,'' Kelly said Friday. But I m also not going to follow our kids around every Friday or Saturday night so I can see what happened to them.''
I will tell everybody here that the rules of our football team is that you have to be honest, you have to tell the truth, he said, because if I can't trust you, you can't play here.
Alonso was the sixth Oregon football player implicated in crimes or charged with crimes in the last four weeks. And just one day after Alonso's arrest, wide receiver Jamere Holland was dismissed from the team for what Coach Kelly would only desribe as a violation of team rules.
Kelly said last Friday that he would deal with individual situations and the punishment will fit the crime.
University of Oregon president Richard Lariviere also issued the following statement:
The University of Oregon has clear expectations of how its student athletes are to behave both on and off the field of play. Lately, several of our athletes have fallen far short of these standards. This is simply unacceptable.
The University of Oregon does not tolerate inappropriate conduct from any of its students. I know athletics director Mike Bellotti and head coach Chip Kelly share my concern about recent events involving UO players and are working hard to address these incidents. I have every confidence that they will restore the UO athletic program s long and proud tradition of sportsmanship and integrity. Our loyal fans and alumni expect no less and neither do I.
Ducks in shadow of criminal charges
Back in January, two Ducks players were accused of stealing laptops and other items from a Eugene fraternity. Star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and backup wide receiver Garrett Embry were implicated in the alleged theft. Embry was later dismissed from the team for what the coach would only describe as an unspecified violation of team rules. Masoli was not charged in the theft and is still on the team.
Also on Jan. 24, at least two Ducks football players were involved in a large brawl near the U of O campus. One of them - kicker Rob Beard - was kicked in the head and knocked unconscious during the violent fight. Witnesses said he had been trying to break up the fight because his teammate and fellow kicker Mike Bowlin was getting beaten up.
Wednesday police announced Beard would be cited for assault.
Police previously cited UO football player Matt Simms for investigation of misdemeanor assault in what police allege was an attack on someone Simms thought was involved in beating up Beard. Simms has since left the team. So has Bowlin, who withdrew from the university as both a student and an athlete.
As for James, investigators said the alleged incident took place outside James' apartment Monday night. They said a woman who said she was his girlfriend told police the two were arguing and then he grabbed her around the neck and pushed her to the ground. The charges carry a possible one-year prison term.
His coach made a statement to the media on the day news surfaced of his arrest:
We are concerned anytime a student-athlete is mentioned in a police report, head coach Chip Kelly said in a statement. We do not condone any behavior that doesn't meet university standards or our football program's standards, and we go to great lengths to actively educate our student-athletes regarding appropriate conduct.
We have the utmost confidence in the local law enforcement authorities to determine the facts in all instances involving our student-athletes, and will reserve further judgment or comment until further information is available.
The Ducks Web site describes James (#21 in photo above) as one of their strongest freshman players ever. Few players have ever made the impact in their initial campaign at Oregon as the Pac-10's Offensive Freshman of the Year as evidenced by him [James] becoming the school's first freshman on record to earn the team's Most Outstanding Player accolades, his bio said.
The 20-year-old athlete is from Texas and was ranked the 12th-best running back in the country during his high school career.
James was moved up in the Ducks roster last year when running back LaGarrette Blount was suspended for slugging a Boise State player in the season opener.
That incident brought negative attention to the Ducks and the University of Oregon. Blount was later re-instated near the end of the season, in time to play in the Civil War and the Rose Bowl.