CASTLETON — Castleton State College has suspended four more football players from the team — making six in all — for their alleged involvement in a shoplifting ring that struck Dick’s Sporting Goods in Rutland Town, but the school president said he cannot identify them to police.
Two star players were suspended indefinitely from the CSC football team after being cited for retail theft earlier this week. Vermont State Police said at the time that more students were involved but had not been identified.
CSC President David Wolk said Friday that though four more players have been suspended from football after an investigation by the college, federal education privacy laws prevented him from naming them either to the media or law enforcement.
“There’s probably a provision (for identifying them) if it was a matter of public safety or the community was in danger,” Wolk said. “Nobody is in danger because of what has transpired there. ... We have to be careful even in terms of indicating the names of players who are or are not playing.”
Police have charged 21-year-old Brandon Boyle, who was working at Dick’s Sporting Goods, of helping teammate George Busharis, 19, make off with roughly $300 worth of merchandise. Busharis said it wasn’t the first time the two of them had stolen from the store, police said, and Boyle said Busharis wasn’t the only friend he helped to steal.
Police said the store put its total losses at around $3,000.
Busharis is the CSC Spartans’ starting quarterback and Boyle is an all-American wide receiver.
Wolk said the student enrollment status of the six players has not been affected. He said they would be subject to a judicial process through the dean of students’ office. He said he was not aware of any precedent or provision in the college’s regulations for an off-campus retail theft to serve as grounds for expulsion.
“I do not want to minimize the seriousness of it, because it is serious,” Wolk said. “In my view, it’s a property crime and not a crime on someone’s life or well-being.”
Wolk said the four unnamed students were being encouraged to turn themselves in and that all six were learning a lesson.
“I know them well,” he said. “These are good kids who made a very bad decision.”
Wolk also said the incident should not tar the football program.
“It’s not symptomatic of anything,” he said. “I’m very impressed with the coaching staff and how they’ve reacted to this in an upbeat manner moving forward. ... We have 475 student athletes and another 1,500 or so students. We’ve had non-athletes involved in mischief before. Is it part of the culture? Absolutely not. Is it symptomatic of anything to do with football? Absolutely not.”
The investigating officer was not available for comment Friday, and Lt. Charles Cacciatore of the Vermont State Police said the only update he could provide was that the investigation was ongoing.
He also did not indicate that the college’s silence on the identities of the other four students would hamper the investigation.
“My guess is, if the school is under those type of restraints, we’re just going to have to investigate it normally,” he said.
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