Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle was been suspended from playing in the Belk Bowl on Thursday against Virginia Tech after receiving a citation for unlawful concealment during the Razorbacks' team visit to the Belk department store in Charlotte earlier this week.
Sprinkle was cited for attempting to shoplift eight items during a team function in which players participating in the Belk Bowl are each given a 90-minute, $450 shopping spree at the store, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Among the items found in Sprinkle's possession were a Ralph Lauren shirt, other clothing items, and a pair of wallets, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department incident report published by the AJC.
Prior to the game, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema released a statement on the suspension without providing details about the incident.
"Jeremy's suspension has been known by our staff and players for several days so we've had a chance to prepare our game plan accordingly," Bielema said, per the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "Throughout his career and this season as a graduate student-athlete, Jeremy has displayed numerous times the qualities we want to represent our program. We have standards within our family that must be upheld on a daily basis and unfortunately he failed to do that in the last week.
"Jeremy's suspension isn't drug, alcohol or violence related but one that will cause him to miss his final game as a Razorback."
Officials from Belk and the SouthPark Mall had no comment, according to the report.
One of the top tight ends in college football, the senior has caught 33 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns this season. NFL.com analyst Chad Reuter ranked him the No. 6 draft prospect playing among Thursday's three bowl games.
An outstanding blocker with impressive size (6-feet-6, 256 pounds), Sprinkle is more of a classic in-line tight end who can move defensive ends off the line of scrimmage in the running game, but with 71 career receptions, he is also a proven pass catcher. Sprinkle could be a better prospect than Arkansas' top tight end last year, Hunter Henry, according to NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks. Henry was selected No. 35 overall in the second round by the San Diego Chargers.