Northwestern suspends three players for Sun Bowl

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern suspended defensive tackle Trevor Schultz, cornerback Deante Battle and receiver Kim Thompson for the Sun Bowl against No. 17 UCLA.

Schultz, who started six games, was suspended for academic reasons. Battle missed the final regular-season game against Illinois for academic reasons. He had started five straight games before the suspension.

Thompson was suspended for a violation of athletic department policy. He also has started six games.

School spokesman Mike Wolf declined to elaborate on the suspensions.

"In terms of depth this will hurt us, but we have guys who can step up," coach Randy Walker said.

A study by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport ranked Northwestern first among the 56 bowl teams with a graduation rate of 83 percent. That included a graduation rate of 90 percent for black players.

The Wildcats play UCLA on Dec. 30 in El Paso, Texas.