The three recruits from the 2010 class who were participating in UCLA's summer school program before enrolling this fall were arrested on suspicion of theft in June, and face felony charges.
The three are accused of stealing a female student's backpack with contents worth about $1,200.
UCLA Head Coach Rick Neuheisel subsequently acted to withdraw them from summer school and laid down the conditions for their admittance to UCLA – to attend a JC for a semester, be "good citizens," and then enroll at UCLA in January for the winter quarter.
However, once UCLA denied the three admission to the fall quarter, their National Letter of Intent became null and void, which allows the three to freely look at other programs for the fall.
Sources have indicated that the three have been investigating their options in terms of other programs.
Particularly interesting would be if any of the three did decide to forsake UCLA and go to another program, whether that program would admit a player into their school who has a felony charge hanging over his head.
Of course, the legal situation could change for any or all of the three by the time they could be admitted elsewhere. It's uncertain, but it's within the realm of possibility that the felony charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor or thrown out by the time they would, in fact, enroll at another school for fall.
It also presents an issue for UCLA: What would Neuheisel and the program do if the charges were, indeed, reduced or dropped in time for the three to enroll in UCLA's fall quarter?
If the charges were reduced or dropped, there is the potential situation that the three could miss a portion of fall camp and the beginning of the season, but then be admitted into the program in time to enroll. UCLA's fall quarter doesn't begin until the fourth week of the season, September 20th.
Sources at UCLA have indicated that it's uncertain what Neuheisel and the university would do if that were a potential scenario. But another source close to the situation believes that Neuheisel's criteria for returning to the program must be fulfilled regardless of a change in the felony charge.
The option of going elsewhere could be compelling for the Richardsons and Shirley, especially since getting admitted into UCLA for winter isn't a certainty at this point. Neuheisel said that whether they could enroll for the winter quarter would be "determined at a later date."
It was expected that both wide receiver Paul Richardson and cornerback Shaquille Richardson would redshirt this season at UCLA, with Paul Richardson was slated to have surgery for an ankle injury. It was thought that the linebacker/defensive end, Shirley, might have the best chance to earn some playing time as a true freshman, but that he would also more than likely redshirt.
It follows, then, that if they were going to redshirt at UCLA anyway, coming into UCLA for winter quarter wouldn't be that much of a loss for the three. However, if it's a real possibility that they could go elsewhere and be apart of that schools' football program for the fall, and not have to deal with the conditions set by Neuheisel for their return to UCLA in winter, that might be compelling for them.