USF Guard Suspended; NCAA Investigation Underway
Also, the NCAA has begun its investigation at USF's campus into alleged NCAA violations reported by FanHouse two weeks ago.
Crater, who transferred from Ohio State to USF last December and has been sitting out a transfer year, was scheduled to become eligible Dec. 12 and make his USF debut against Central Michigan Dec. 13. However, according to USF's substance abuse policy, a student-athlete that fails a second drug test is suspended for "20 percent of the maximum allowable regular season intercollegiate competitions allowed by the NCAA."
Crater's suspension will be between four to six games, depending on how the school interprets the length of USF's season. If the suspension is based on only the 22 games once Crater becomes eligible, he will miss four games. If it's calculated based on USF's entire 30-game season, Crater's suspension would be six games.
On Wednesday, USF coach Stan Heath and USF senior associate athletic director Barry Clements did not return phone calls about Crater. On Thursday, Heath wouldn't discuss Crater's situation. His only comment, via a text message, is he would "address Anthony Crater's transition to playing at our next press conference."
Heath's next press conference is expected to be next week.
Crater's second failed drug test at USF - he also failed a drug test while at Ohio State according to a Big Ten source - is the latest black eye for the Bulls' program. Two weeks ago, FanHouse reported numerous alleged NCAA violations involving USF's program, including video and conditioning assistant Terrelle Woody providing transportation to student-athletes, watching "open gym," coaching players and illegally working out USF players.
At that time, USF released a statement that the school would "carefully review the issues raised in [FanHouse's] internet report. If we discover any issues that warrant action, we will address those as a further matter."
Besides USF's alleged violations, Crater -- along with teammates Dominique Jones and Justin Leemow -- were the primary suspects in the April 2009 theft of nearly $8,000 worth of items stolen from former players Gaby Belardo and Jesus Verdejo, according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office report.
No charges were filed, but during the investigation, Crater confessed to a sheriff's detective of an earlier theft in which he "took [Belardo's] necklace and watch" because he thought "it was Jesus [Verdejo's] stuff."
Crater's involvement in the April thefts wasn't his only trouble since coming to USF.
A month after he transferred to USF, Crater was arrested with USF teammate Mike Mercer for possession of marijuana on Jan. 23. Because it was Mercer's second arrest in four months, Heath dismissed Mercer from the program, but said Crater deserved a second chance.
On Jan. 26, a few days after the arrest, Heath said Crater realized he can't make any more mistakes at USF.
"Crater knows," Heath said on Jan. 26. "He knows his life's not going to be very exciting for a while.
"It's a privilege to play sports. You obviously can't just think about yourself. ... You get chance No. 1, you get chance No. 2; at some point in time you've got to make adjustments that the program is bigger than what you are."
In June, Crater's possession of marijuana charges were dismissed. In August, Heath reinstated Mercer to the program because he had graduated, Heath said.
If Crater fails a third drug test at USF, he would be immediately dismissed from the program according to the school's substance abuse policy.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Crater left Ohio State after playing sparingly in 10 games as a freshman. He averaged 1.2 points. When Crater's suspension ends, he is expected to compete with Chris Howard for the Bulls' starting point guard position. The Bulls are 7-1 after defeating Hampton 74-55 Wednesday night.
Contact FanHouse reporter Brett McMurphy at firstname.lastname@example.org