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North Carolina suspends 3 football players

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina suspended wide receiver Adarius Bowman, linebacker Fred Sparkman and defensive tackle Isaiah Thomas indefinitely after they were cited for possession of marijuana by campus police, the school said Monday.

The three sophomores were cited late Sunday. Coach John Bunting said they won't play until he and athletics director Dick Baddour determine otherwise.

Their loss is a big blow for the Tar Heels (3-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who travel to No. 11 Utah this weekend and are coming off a 30-24 victory over North Carolina State.

Sparkman has started every game for the Tar Heels and has a team-high 61 tackles. Bowman is second on the team with 18 catches, and has a team-best 329 yards and three scores.

Thomas has played in every game and has nine tackles.

"I can't remember a time when I was more disappointed," Bunting said. "The last thing we need after an exciting win like we had Saturday evening was an off-the-field situation that would embarrass the university and this football program."

Sparkman led the Tar Heels with 10 tackles against N.C. State. Bowman had a 46-yard touchdown catch that gave North Carolina a 20-16 lead in the fourth quarter.

Bunting said the three players denied "their involvement with these charges and we are looking into that at this time."