Lovie Smith dismisses 3 players following burglary, robbery charges

Three Illinois football players arrested on charges of residential burglary and aggravated robbery were dismissed from the program Wednesday.

Head coach Lovie Smith saidDarta Lee, Zarrian Holcombe andHoward Watkinswere no longer a part of the team. Their names have been removed from the school's online roster.

Lee, Holcombe and Watkins claim they were pulling a prank on another student in their on-campus dormitory when they allegedly donned masks and used a fake gun before breaking into the room two weeks ago, according to a report in the Champaign News-Gazette. The paper said all three players remained in jail Wednesday evening with $150,000 bonds.

Smith announced that all three players were suspended soon after the incident and released a short statement.

"These allegations, if true, fail to live up to the standards we expect of our student-athletes," the statement said. "We continue to gather information and will take appropriate steps based upon what we learn."

Lee was an offensive lineman for the Illini who started two games and played in four others during his first season in Champaign in 2017. Holcombe, a tight end, played in seven games as a freshman last fall. Watkins arrived on campus in January as an early enrollee and intended to play on the offensive line.
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