No word on suspended OU football players

Oklahoma running back Rhamondre Stevenson carries the ball against Baylor Nov. 16, 2019, in Waco, Texas. Oklahoma won 34-31.

NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma doesn’t sound any closer to a resolution in the case of three players suspended by the NCAA in December.

Trejan Bridges, Ronnie Perkins and Rhamondre Stevenson — all likely contributors next season — are awaiting answers after OU initiated a process with the NCAA, which suspended the players for reportedly failing a drug test.

None of them played in the Peach Bowl. They might have to serve five more games on the sideline if the NCAA doesn’t resolve an appeal.

That process is taking more time than usual with the NCAA preoccupied by the pandemic.

“No update,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said Thursday. “I think that’s fair to say, that all of this has probably slowed this process down. It’s still being discussed. I don’t think it’s going to get left unattended to, but I do believe it’s fair to say that has slowed it down. There’s obviously other priorities that are a lot higher right now for the people that make those decisions.”

• Haselwood’s status: Riley confirmed sophomore receiver Jadon Haselwood suffered a lower-leg injury that could force him to miss “some of the early part of the season.”

A return for Haselwood at all this season would be encouraging news for OU. His injury is to his anterior cruciate ligament, according to SoonerScoop.com. Riley said it occurred at his home and was not related to football or working out.

“We’ll have to see how the rest of it, how he responds and how he comes back from that before we know anything further,” Riley said.

Under Big 12 rule during the current suspension of activities, players can receive sports medicine treatments, physical therapy and rehabilitation. Riley said there have been some limitations.

Players living in Norman are able to receive care at OU’s facility. Others have been put in touch with specialists near their respective homes.

“That’s honestly been pretty smooth,” Riley said. “That’s honestly been nothing been [that’s been] done before but it’s probably been one of the smoothest, easiest parts of this deal.”

• Riley backs rehab process: Riley defended OU’s rehabilitation practice and care after former OU cornerback Starrland Baldwin heavily criticized the team’s practicies in a since-deleted tweet.

“I have extreme confidence in our medical team,” Riley said. “I think 99.9% of the OU players in the past would echo that. Anytime you have tough injuries like Starrland did, both coming in and when he was here, that can be a very frustrating thing.

“I understand his competitiveness and frustration and hated he couldn’t get on the right side of it, but he had great care here at Oklahoma. I think that’s all I would say.”

Baldwin tore his ACL in high school and once again before the 2018 season. He is now at Laney (California) College.

• Fields on committee: OU safety Pat Fields is among the student-athlete representatives on the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee, according to Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel.

Citing sources, Thamel said Fields was among athletes who spoke Thursday on the need for more communication with strength coaches, which is currently limited by the NCAA.

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Palmateer is sports editor for The Norman Transcript, a CNHI LLC publication.

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