In wake of the recent Bobby Petrino firing and ensuing controversy, the last thing the University of Arkansas football program needed was more student-athlete indiscretions.
Unfortunately for Athletic Director Jeff Long and interim head coach Taver Johnson, that’s exactly what they have been dealt.
According to reports, sophomore linebacker Tyler Gilbert has been suspended from the team indefinitely following his arrest for aggravated burglary earlier today. While not a big contributor for the Razorbacks during 2011 (he played in only five games and tallied three tackles), Gilbert’s loss is nonetheless a troubling development for a program which now struggles to maintain whatever credibility it may have left.
Tyler Gilbert was arrested and booked into jail at 11:19 am this morning in Fayetteville.
Gilbert’s teammates, freshman wide receiver Kane Whitehurst and senior offensive tackle Jason Peacock are in the midst of their own legal shake-ups. Whitehurst is facing a charge of drug paraphernalia possession while Peacock is facing a theft charge for buying gasoline with a stolen credit card.
These arrests bring along the obvious questions: Are players acting out because Bobby Petrino was fired and they feel lost in a directionless program, or was the culture “created” by Petrino the cause for their deviant behavior?
It’s the classic chicken-and-egg situation which we’re forced to ponder when collegiate athletes break the law outside of the course of their tightly-controlled in-season routines.
It’s an un-scalable mountain that Arkansas will be forced to climb this off-season and in preparation for the 2012 season to remain competitive, and more importantly, regain some lost integrity to a once-proud program.
More coverage of Tyler Gilbert’s arrest:
Arkansas Suspends Tyler Gilbert After Burglary Arrest: http://sbn.to/HQCxrw
DE Gilbert suspended after arrest: http://cbsprt.co/IV44M7