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BYU officials have suspend two freshman football players

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PROVO — Brigham Young University officials have suspended two freshman football players for one year and disciplined two others after reviewing apparent violations of the school's honor code, sources told the Deseret Morning News Wednesday.

Return specialist B.J. Mathis and linebacker William Turner Jr. were suspended, and defensive backs Karland Bennett and Ibrahim Rashada also were disciplined. Possible honor code penalties can range from probation to suspension and dismissal from the university.

The four did not practice with the team Wednesday.

BYU officials would not confirm the penalties because the players have a window of opportunity to appeal.

"I cannot comment until the process is complete in its entirety," university spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said.

Provo Police have spent 10 weeks investigating allegations about a possible rape and drinking in a Provo apartment in August.

No criminal charges have been filed against anyone in connection with that alleged incident. A 17-year-old Salt Lake City girl claimed she drank vodka with a large group of men, watched pornographic movies with them and then was raped by several after she passed out in a room at the Villa Apartments a block or two east of campus on Aug. 8.

The only court documents made public so far contain the names of four players, including three of the four punished by BYU. However, the documents do not contain specific allegations against any of them.

Detectives turned the case over to the Utah County Attorney's Office on Aug. 31. After prosecutors screened the case, they sent it back to police for further investigation while prosecutors continued to interview the girl and others. Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson also assigned investigators from his office to the case.

Police obtained a search warrant Oct. 4 to take blood samples from four players, but a 4th District Court judge sealed the results of the blood tests.

E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com