The nine Colorado football players who missed mandatory conditioning drills will not be suspended from the team and will play in the Freedom Bowl, Coach Bill McCartney said.

McCartney said the players would be disciplined through extra work - varying degrees of early-morning running - "for the next couple of weeks.""They are all very much a part of the team," McCartney said Thursday.

It had been speculated that the nine players, including three starters, might be held out of the Dec. 29 Freedom Bowl against Brigham Young.

McCartney said the players were merely suspended from bowl preparatory work until their reinstatement on Thursday, and that he never intended to suspend them from the game.

The nine players missed a mandatory conditioning session on Nov. 28, then were absent for makeup sessions last Saturday and Sunday.

McCartney left Boulder on a recruiting trip Sunday, but not before leaving a message saying the players were not to participate in conditioning until meeting with him upon his return Thursday. McCartney said he intended to let the players worry while he was out of town.

"I wanted to get their attention," he said. "When I'm not here to monitor things, I want them to take care of things as if I were here."

McCartney said the incident did not deserve the attention it received in the media.