Originally created 03/02/05

USC's standout running back dismissed



COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina dismissed leading rusher Demetris Summers from the team Tuesday for violating athletics department policy.

"There are certain policies and rules that our student-athletes must follow and unfortunately, Demetris chose to violate those," coach Steve Spurrier said in a statement. "That's where we are with this and we'll move on from here."

Summers ran for 1,125 yards and four touchdowns over the past two seasons, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. The sophomore also had 23 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdown catches.

Athletics department spokesman Kerry Tharp would not say what rule Summers violated, but said Spurrier is disappointed.

"Anytime you lose one of your athletes, anytime one of your athletes makes a decision like this, it can certainly disappoint you, no doubt," Tharp said.

Tharp did not know what the future holds for Summers, but said he will retain his scholarship for this semester.

Summers, a highly touted recruit from Lexington High School, holds the state high school record with 9,076 career yards rushing and 127 touchdowns.

But he never quite lived up to the hype he received as one of former South Carolina coach Lou Holtz's most heralded recruits. His suffered a concussion against Arkansas his freshman year and hurt his ankle against Georgia this past season.

His dismissal comes about a month after six South Carolina players were charged after a total of $18,000 worth of computer and video equipment and framed photographs were taken from South Carolina's stadium Nov. 22.

The theft occurred shortly after the team was told they would not go to a bowl game as punishment for an on-field brawl with Clemson. Six South Carolina players have been suspended for the season-opener against Central Florida on Sept. 3.

Summers is the second standout running back to be kicked off the team in recent years. Derek Watson, who was the state's career high-school rushing leader before Summers' broke his records, was kicked off the team for a drug arrest in 2003 before his senior season.

Tharp said it was unfair to compare Summers to Watson.

"Those are different individuals and different situations. It's just unfortunate," Tharp said. "Hopefully, he'll complete his education. That would be my advice to him."

It's also not the first time Summers has been in trouble with the team. Last summer Holtz sent Summers and other promising players a message by banning them from working out with the team part of the summer. He eventually rejoined the team before the season began.