The Badgers will start the 2001 football season weak in the backfield after Coach Barry Alvarez suspended fullback Erik Bickerstaff for three games Thursday.
The suspension came after Bickerstaff was arrested and charged for disorderly conducted and battery late Saturday night. According to police reports, the altercation occurred after Bickerstaff attempted to enter Brother’s Tavern, 704 University Ave., with the ID of former UW running back and current Minnesota Viking Michael Bennett. When the college bar’s bouncer rejected Bickerstaff and confiscated the fake ID, Bickerstaff allegedly punched the bouncer two or three times in the face. When police arrived on the scene, Bickerstaff complained that two of the bar’s bouncers used unnecessary force in restraining him.
In his statement, Alveraz said Bickerstaff would be suspended for disciplinary reasons. With the suspension, Bickerstaff will miss the Badgers’ games against Virginia, Oregon and Fresno State.
This will not be the first season Bickerstaff has missed opening games. Last year, he was among 26 athletes who received a suspension as part of the Shoebox scandal. In that case, Bickerstaff allegedly received approximately $300-$499 worth of benefits and discounts at the Black Eath, Wis. shoe store.
Chad Kuhns is expected to be the Badgers’ starting fullback this season, supported by his brother Russ Kuhns, Ryan Englebert, who is currently injured, and Bickerstaff.