RALEIGH, N.C. -- Four Duke men's lacrosse players, including
national player of the year Matt Danowski, will return for a fifth
season granted by the NCAA to restore a year lost amid rape
allegations that led to false charges against three former
Goaltender Dan Loftus and defensemen Tony McDevitt and Nick
O'Hara will join Danowski in returning to the Durham campus for the
2008 season, team spokesman Art Chase said Wednesday. The players
are required to pursue graduate-level course work to be eligible
for the fifth year.
A fifth Duke player, midfielder Peter Lamade, has enrolled for
an extra season at Atlantic Coast Conference rival Virginia, school
spokesman Michael Colley said.
In May, the NCAA granted Duke's request for the extra year for
its players who were not seniors during the 2006 season.
In 2006, the Blue Devils played just eight games before the
university canceled what was left of the schedule as police
investigated allegations a woman was raped at a party where she was
hired as a stripper. Players Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and
Dave Evans were later indicted, but the accusations were eventually
debunked by North Carolina's top prosecutor.
Seligmann and Finnerty were suspended from Duke as sophomores
after the allegations emerged -- Evans graduated the day before he
was indicted -- but they were invited back once it became clear the
case against them had no merit.
Neither player took Duke up on its offer. Seligmann said in late
May he would attend Brown University, while Finnerty said last
month he would attend Loyola of Maryland.
The prosecutor who pursued the case, Mike Nifong, ultimately
resigned in disgrace as Durham County's district attorney and was
disbarred in June for unethical conduct. In addition, he goes on
trial Thursday in Durham for contempt of court for his handling of
the discredited case.
The return of the four players strengthens a Duke team that went
17-3 in 2007 and lost to Johns Hopkins by a goal in the NCAA
championship game for the second time in three seasons.
Last season Danowski won the Tewaaraton Trophy as the nation's
top men's lacrosse player, finishing with an ACC single-season
record and national-best 96 points on 44 goals and 52 assists.
Loftus started in goal every game for Duke last year, while O'Hara
played in all 20 games. McDevitt started 16 games after missing
four games with a knee injury.