UPDATE: Read Justin Heard’s response here.
Spencer Griffin contributed to this article.
According to sources, Heard gave several hundred dollars of his scholarship money to his brother, a UCA student and member of the football team, to buy textbooks. NCAA rules stipulate that scholarship money belongs to the university, not the student athlete, and can’t be used for other purposes.
“If it was an athletic scholarship that was given to the student, [the extra money] is the university’s money and not the student’s,” said Evonne Meeks, a financial aid analyst on campus.
Steve East, assistant athletic director, said that Heard was suspended for “breaking team rules,” but declined further comment.
During the first three games of this year, Heard had 20 tackles, including 13 solo tackles and four tackles for loss. In 36 games with the Bears over the past three years, Heard had 189 tackles with 111 solo tackles and 24.5 tackles for loss. He also had a fumble recovery and an interception.
Last year, he was ranked fifth in the Southland Conference with 100 tackles and a team-high 63 solo tackles.