Missouri WR Levi Copelin suspended by NCAA for 2014 season

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Levi Copelin caught 3 passes for 61 yards as a redshirt freshman. (USATSI)
Levi Copelin caught 3 passes for 61 yards as a redshirt freshman. (USATSI)

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Missouri redshirt sophomore wideout Levi Copelin will miss the entire 2014 football season through suspension after failing an NCAA-administered drug test.

In a statement, Copelin says he took an over-the-counter nutritional supplement which is "legal and available to the public" but on the NCAA's list of prohibited substances, leading to the failed test and the NCAA's subsequent year-long suspension. Copelin admitted he did not clear the supplement with Missouri's conditioning staff before taking it.

"This was a stupid mistake on my part, and I'm very sorry that I put myself and my team in this situation," he said. "This is a hard lesson to learn, as I never had the wrong intentions ...

"There's nothing I can do except dedicate myself to representing me, my family, my team, and Mizzou the right way going forward. I'm very grateful to my coaches and my teammates for giving me a chance to overcome this."

Copelin remains on the team and is expected to return to the Tigers for the 2015 season. But there does not appear to be any plan for him to appeal the suspension for the upcoming Missouri campaign, which will open Aug. 30 against South Dakota State.

"This is a very unfortunate situation, but one that Levi created for himself," Gary Pinkel said in the statement. "He's paying the price for this mistake, and I commend him for owning up to it and taking responsibility. Our strength coaches and trainers rely on our players to be careful of what they do on their own, and to always get approval from them first.

"We're disappointed that Levi didn't follow this guideline, but we will support him during this time, and have high expectations that he will handle all of his responsibilities in the classroom, in the community and on the field in a first-class manner."

Copelin appeared in all 14 Missouri games in 2013, though he saw most of his playing time on special teams and finished with three receptions for 61 yards. But with the loss of four of Missouri's top six receivers from a year ago, including Dorial Green-Beckham, the former three-star recruit from Broken Arrow, Okla. was expected to become a much larger part of the wideout rotation.

Following his suspension, Missouri will feature only three wide receivers who have caught a pass at the collegiate level, and only two -- Bud Sasser and Jimmie Hunt -- who finished 2013 with more than seven receptions.

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