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UA football players may be involved in TPD investigation

By Chris Jackson
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 18, 1999
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Tucson police are investigating a reported December burglary or theft that could involve UA football players, said Sgt. Judy Altieri, a TPD spokeswoman.

"We are investigating a burglary or theft that may involve some football players," Altieri said. "They're still in the middle of the investigation, so that's all I can tell you. We don't want to compromise the investigation."

Until the investigation is complete, no further information will become available to either the press, University of Arizona head football coach Dick Tomey or other UA officials.

Tomey said he has suspended two first-string players, but could not comment on whether it is in relation to the TPD investigation, or elaborate on the nature of the players' misconduct, because of federal privacy regulations that forbid UA officials from disclosing such information.

Starting linebacker Antonio Pierce and starting tight end Brandon Manumaleuna "have been suspended for a violation of team rules," Tomey said.

Tomey said he did not know how long the suspensions would last.

"It depends on what the outcome (of the investigation) is," Tomey said of the exact nature of the suspensions. "It could involve playing on the team in the fall."

Pierce, an undeclared senior, finished second on the team in tackles last year with 75 and is the only returning starter among the Wildcats' linebacking corps.

Manumaleuna, a psychology junior, had 316 yards receiving and two touchdowns in 1999 and was a key member of the Wildcats' run-blocking unit.

The reported incident is just the latest in a recent series of legal troubles involving UA football players.

Former UA cornerback Leland Gayles was arrested on domestic violence charges on Sept. 12 for allegedly assaulting his live-in girlfriend.

Marie Cramer, a clerk for the Tucson City Court, said charges against Gayles were dropped without prejudice when his girlfriend failed to answer a subpoena to attend Gayles' hearing on Jan. 7.

Former UA offensive tackle Manuia Savea is still facing trial on similar domestic violence charges for allegedly assaulting his wife in front of their three young children on Oct. 20.

Savea will appear in court on Feb. 8.

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