Penn State mascot arrested on DUI charge


Erica Magda

By The Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – The Penn State senior who plays the Nittany Lion mascot was arrested on a DUI charge and his status for the Rose Bowl is in doubt, police and school officials said.

James Sheep was pulled over on campus around 3:15 a.m. on Nov. 22, hours before Penn State’s 49-18 win over Michigan State, university police Capt. Bill Moerschbacher said Monday. The officer saw that the vehicle was overloaded, with passengers piled onto each other and blocking the driver’s view.

After determining that Sheep had been drinking, the officer administered sobriety tests and took him to the hospital for blood tests, Moerschbacher said. He was later charged with DUI and summary traffic violations.

A telephone message left for Sheep by The Associated Press was not immediately returned Monday.

At the Michigan State game, the final home game of the year, Sheep was honored for serving as the mascot since January 2007.

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    School spokesman Geoff Rushton said he expects some action from the Office of Judicial Affairs, but said that it would likely be up to the coaching staff to determine if Sheep can attend the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1. Penn State’s opponent has not been announced.

    The student in the mascot suit receives a scholarship, but Rushton said he did not know how much it was worth. In addition to football games, the mascot attends several hundred events a year and must maintain a 3.0 grade point average.

    University sanctions can range from requiring students to take mandatory education classes right on up to expulsion, Rushton said. He declined to speculate on what type of punishment Sheep might receive.