UCLA's dastardly trio of freshman "purse snatchers," kicked off the Bruins last month, are free to pursue playing time at other schools, according to the university's sports information department:
Paul Richardson, Shaquille Richardson and Joshua Shirley, the three UCLA football players arrested on suspicion of theft in June, have had their letters of intent ruled null and void.
The three are free to be recruited by other schools and can play immediately.
One aspect of this story that initially puzzled us has been made clearer now: It was actually a backpack that was stolen, although "backpack snatchers" doesn't sound as catchy, and its contents, presumably a laptop, were valuable enough to constitute felony theft. SB Nations's Bruins Nation takes issue with the stated nature of the release in the L.A. Times, but are otherwise reasonably satisfied with the outcome:
From my understanding the second line is not accurate. Those three may be free to be recruited by other schools, however, they cannot play immediately. Note that all of them were already enrolled during UCLA summer school sessions. So no matter what they will have to sit out for a year should they chose to transfer immediately somewhere else. So the issue of being released from LOI is kind of moot in technical sense.
That said, the release on its face was a good move on the part of UCLA.
What would be preferable is for these three student athletes to go through JC, reflect on their mistakes, take responsibility and rejoin the Bruins seeking redemption. However, the initiative has to come from them.
Catch up on all the latest UCLA gossip at Bruins Nation.