Austin Peay Players Suspended

The NCAA suspended two Austin Peay men's basketball players for the first three games of the season for improperly using a university telephone long-distance code.

Guards Nick Stapleton and Kevin Easley will miss games against Arkansas State, Belmont and Murray State, Austin Peay officials said in a written statement Friday night. The pair also have reimbursed the university, but the amount was not disclosed.

The violations occurred last spring when the players got the code of a basketball graduate assistant. Stapleton and Easley thought they were borrowing the person's personal code, Austin Peay coach and athletics director Dave Loos said.

It was later discovered the code belonged to the school's athletics department, and Loos reported the violations to the NCAA. The school appealed the initial NCAA decision, but it was denied.

"I don't think they intended to hurt the team or this basketball program," Loos said. "I think they have learned a lesson and, hopefully, the rest of our student-athletes can learn from this."

Stapleton, a junior starting point guard who averaged 13.6 points last year, said he is "hurt" he can't play. "I have to learn from my mistakes, though. I brought this on myself," he said in the statement.

Easley, a sophomore who averaged 1.1 points, said he let down his team, the school's athletic program and the fans.

"This will make me work that much harder to make it up to everybody."

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