MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota running back Kevin Whaley will transfer after being suspended from the program, following his arrest in Arizona for an alleged attack on nightclub security guards.
Coach Tim Brewster announced Wednesday that Whaley requested a release from his scholarship and will be permitted to transfer. According to a news release issued by the school, Whaley was suspended for violating team rules and policies following the team’s loss in the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., on New Year’s Eve.
According to police in nearby Scottsdale, Whaley was arrested for assault and disorderly conduct about 1:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Scottsdale police said Whaley was disturbing women inside the Afterlife nightclub and escorted out, then punched one security guard in the chest and another in the face. Neither of the guards was seriously injured, according to the police report.
Scottsdale police identified Whaley as a member of the Gophers, who lost to Iowa State 14-13 in the Insight Bowl to finish their season 7-6.
Whaley was the team’s second-leading rusher as a redshirt freshman, totaling 367 yards and two touchdowns. Sharing time in the backfield with Duane Bennett and DeLeon Eskridge, Whaley was the most productive of the three with an average of 4.2 yards per carry for a team that struggled badly to run the ball.
Shortly after Whaley signed with the Gophers, he was shot in the leg outside a nightclub in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va. He recovered and was redshirted in 2008, when he was arrested for fighting with a bouncer outside a club in Minneapolis and later pleaded guilty to fifth degree assault.
He was put on probation for two years, but allowed to stay on the team. As Whaley worked his way into the running back rotation, Brewster said he was proud of the strides he made on and off the field. He rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in a homecoming victory over Purdue.
His mother, Tracey Whaley, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview in October that she was pleased to see her son making progress.
“I stayed on him,” she said, referring to the Minneapolis arrest. “That’s part of life. That’s part of growing up. He’s grown up a lot since then. The more he is playing, the closer he gets back to the himself. He just loves the game so much.”
The AP was unable Wednesday night to reach Whaley for comment.
Another Gophers player, offensive lineman Ryan Wynn, was arrested after the Insight Bowl. Tempe police told the Star Tribune newspaper last week that Wynn was charged with underage drinking.
Wynn didn’t play this season because of back problems that required surgery.
Also this offseason, backup defensive back Tim Dandridge was dismissed from the team for violating team rules and policies.