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    Thursday, December 29, 2005

    A.J. Nicholson Suspended from Team

    Florida State suspended linebacker A.J. Nicholson Thursday after an alleged sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman at the team hotel in Hollywood. Although the senior has not been charged by police in the incident, head coach Bobby Bowden said the senior will not play in Tuesday's Orange Bowl Game against Penn State.

    "A.J. will be sent home and suspended from this ballgame for violating a team rule and policy. That's about all I will say about it," said Bowden.

    Hollywood police are investigating an allegation that the woman was assaulted overnight at the team's hotel, the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa. FSU arrived in town Wednesday afternoon to practice for the Orange Bowl meeting with Penn State.
    "Around 3 o'clock in the morning we received a phone call from a 19-year-old female. She called (to report) that allegedly she had been sexually assaulted by a player from FSU. He was later identified as A.J. Nicholson," said Hollywood Police Det. Carlos Negrön. "He has been cooperating with the detectives. He came here, gave a statement, and he was released."

    Nicholson spent a couple of hours at the Hollywood Police Department and left about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Negrön said Nicholson was given permission to leave town and stated there would be no immediate arrest in the case. He said detectives are still conducting interviews and seeking any potential witnesses.

    "(The investigation) is going to take a while. If we need him, we'll call him," said Negrön. "It could be days, weeks or months."

    The alleged victim was taken to the rape/assault treatment center in Fort Lauderdale, according to Negrön.

    Negrön confirmed that if a charge was filed it likely would be for sexual battery. He said that the earliest evidence would be presented to the state attorney's office would be Tuesday.

    Nicholson's status during the preseason was uncertain because of two earlier incidents. He pleaded no contest this summer to a DUI charge that dated back to February, and a June charge of resisting arrest was dropped by the state attorney's office.

    Buster Davis will move to Nicholson's right-side linebacker spot and Sam McGrew will start at middle linebacker. Derrick Nicholson, A.J.'s younger brother, is expected to back up McGrew.

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