Missouri coach Gary Pinkel clarified a few points about wide receiver Levi Copelin’s status Monday after the first practice of preseason training camp.
Copelin was suspended for the 2014-15 season Friday by the NCAA for a failed drug test. MU Athletics and Pinkel said he used a banned over-the-counter supplement.
“We have rules that you have to check and run it through the computers,” Pinkel said. “He made an assumption that some of his teammates, he thought he saw some of his teammates use it. Anyone can go buy it. There’s nothing illegal about except if you play college football.”
As a result, Copelin, a 6-foot-2 and 190-pound sophomore from Broken Arrow, Okla., will lose a season of eligibility. He isn’t, however, banned from all team activities.
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“He can practice,” Pinkel said. “He just can’t play in a game and can’t travel.”
Copelin was one of the first players on the field for the inaugural 2014 practice, but make no mistake — especially with the loss of Missouri’s top three receivers from last season — that’s small consolation as the Aug. 30 opener against South Dakota State draws closer.
“It was poor judgment on his part, and that hurts our team,” Pinkel said. “He’s apologized to them and we’ll move on.”
Pinkel doesn’t have a problem with the suspension.
“I think you’re responsible for yourself,” Pinkel said. “No excuses.”
Missouri also was without three freshman from the 2014 signing class.
As had been previously reported, safety Greg Taylor from East St. Louis (Ill.) was a non-qualifier and won’t be allowed to join the Tigers this season.
The news might not be as bleak for safety Tavon Ross and defensive end Walter Brady, who are trying to finish up some academic work in hopes of becoming eligible.
Ross is a Rivals three-star recruit from Bleckley County in Cochran, Ga.
“He’s just trying to fulfill some academic responsibilities,” Pinkel said. “Hopefully, we’re going to get him back, and we feel good that we can get him back too.”
It’s the same situation with Brady from Florence, Ala.
“We’re waiting for the eligibility center,” Pinkel said. “Those two guys, I’m not sure what the timeframe is going to be, but both of them have got a significant chance of being here.”