Various outlets are reporting that Northwestern's star running back Venric Mark has been suspended for the first two games of the season. The school's student newspaper the Daily Northwestern reported that the University gave the standard "Violation of Team Policy" as the cause for the suspension.
Mark will miss games at home against California in the season opener August 30th and a week later September 6 against Northern Illinois.
Mark was being counted on after missing most of the 2013 season with a broken ankle. He was an All-American in 2012 when he had 2,166 All-Purpose yards and scored 16 touchdowns. He'll be back for the third game at Ryan Field against FCS Western Illinois.
Mark's suspension means more playing time the first two weeks for Trayvon Green and Stephen Buckley. Green led the Wildcats in rushing last season with 736 yards, eight touchdowns and a 5.4 YPC.
With Mark struggling with a hamstring injury against the Bears in the season opener last year, Green torched Cal. He finished with 129 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries.
Buckley had 265 yards rushing and averaged 5.4 YPC in 2013. He led Northwestern with 99 yards on 17 carries against Iowa. Green was out with an injury. Buckley missed the last three games with his own injury.
Northwestern released a statement from Mark.
"I made a mistake and am prepared to deal with the consequences of that," said Mark. "There's no one that holds me to a higher standard than the one I hold myself to, so nobody is more disappointed than I am. First and foremost, I feel like I let my teammates down, and that feels the worst. I'm grateful to have another season to compete with this team. My focus moving forward is on working as hard as I can in camp and supporting my teammates in practice and on gamedays so that we can achieve our goals this season."