Two Iowa Football Players Arrested on Drug Charges

By: Justin Foss, Reporter


By Claire Kellett

IOWA CITY - Two University of Iowa football players were arrested early Saturday morning and now face drug charges. University Public Safety Officers arrested 19-year-old James Cleveland and 19-year-old Arvell Nelson after searching their dorm room around 2:30 am. The pair face separate charges, but fellow students say it's all one bad situation.

Cleveland finished second in the team for catches last season, and he is a red-shirt freshman. He's charged with a felony tax stamp violation (more info) after officers found pills of Oxycodone and Carisprodol in his desk. Both are prescription drugs, but a police report says officers couldn't find a prescription to go with the pills.

Nelson is a back-up quarterback, and he is also a red-shirt freshman. A police report says University officers marijuana on his desk. Nelson faces a serious misdemeanor of possession.

These two arrests bring the total number of Iowa football players to be arrested since last April to 14.

"Fourteen arrests, we don't know what to say to that," said one student on campus Saturday afternoon.

Some of the athletes at Iowa say they're tired of all the bad marks the school is getting.

"I think it's already started [to make us look bad], sounds like, with the whole string of everything. Our coach always says you're an athlete, but you're also a representative of the university so, they're definitely not pulling their weight in that department, being a representative at all," said Emily Katalinich, a sophomore on Iowa's Crew team.

"I just compare us to other schools and it makes us look terrible I think," said student Drew Ingersol. "A bad image."

However, some say that image needs more context.

"I think they're young kids, and everybody makes mistakes and their in the public eye and nobody else is. Like nobody else would be interviewed about it they got caught with drug charges, but since they're athletes they are, so I think they're just kids," said a student on campus.

Coach Kirk Ferentz was unavailable for comment Saturday. He left early Saturday morning for the organizations annual Hawkeye cruise. Ferentz will be back March 3.

TV 9 News left a message for the Iowa Sports Information Director, but he has not returned the call.

Email Justin Foss at

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