The quartet has been “dismissed for the time being,” according to one source who wished not to be named, for their alleged involvement in a Jan. 29 incident where a compound hunting bow was used to shoot graphite arrows into and through the wall of an on-campus apartment.
It is not clear if or when they will be allowed to rejoin the program. Meanwhile, team spokesman Jeff Nelson would neither confirm nor deny the story, saying in an e-mail to FOS, "Coach [Joe] Paterno addressed that issue Wednesday and nothing has changed since then."
Nelson had no further comment.
According to the Associated Press, Paxson and Reed were both recently charged with criminal mischief in connection with the bow-and-arrow incident, which caused an estimated $700 worth of damage. Nobody was hurt in the incident. Smith and Richardson were not charged.
At a press conference Wednesday, Paterno was vague on how he planned to handle Paxson and Reed.
“This has been going on since January,” Paterno said. “I have heard six different stories. I am going to wait. I'll try to do what is appropriate. I don't know any more than you guys know, really. I will be honest with you. It has been up, down, back and forth. I just want to wait and see what happens. I'll let the university handle it their way and then I will handle it my way.”
All four players are still enrolled at the university.
Smith started every game at center last season after missing the 2003 season for disciplinary reasons. Reed started all but two games at right guard in 2004, and Richardson started the season's first six games at right tackle before being pulled from the lineup.
Paxson started every game at right defensive tackle last fall, and compiled 33 tackles, 8.5 tackles for losses and three sacks. He also blocked four kicks.
Penn State begins spring practice Monday.
FightOnState.com's Mark Harrington contributed to this report.
Other recent Fight On State football coverage: