DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University's troubled lacrosse team
will play next season, but under strict rules and close monitoring
after three players were charged with rape, school President
Richard Brodhead said Monday.
"I am, I know, taking a risk in reinstating men's lacrosse,"
Brodhead said in a statement. "The reinstatement is inevitably
Brodhead canceled the team's season April 5 after an exotic
dancer who had been hired to perform at a March 13 team party told
police she was raped by three team members at an off-campus house.
A university investigation also found a history of disciplinary
problems involving team members, including underage drinking and
Brodhead said Monday that he and the school's athletics
administrators would rethink their decision to reinstate the
lacrosse team if they see any repeat of "patterns of
irresponsible, individual or team behaviors familiar from the
"[If] we did not allow these players the chance to take responsibility for creating a new history for their sport at Duke, we would be denying another very fundamental value: the belief in the possibility of learning from experience, the belief in education itself."
Duke President Richard Brodhead
A faculty committee had recommended the team be allowed to
resume play but that its members should be strictly monitored.
Brodhead called the decision "a gamble," but said the players
should be allowed to move past the scandal.
"It seems to me if you say, 'I'm sorry, I'll never trust these
people until the end of time,' that's one idea," he said. "I
think it's a rather unrealistic and inhumane idea."
Brodhead said he didn't decide to reinstate the team until this
weekend, after all remaining players agreed to a mission statement
that emphasizes academics, tolerance and a code of conduct that,
among other things, prohibits underage drinking, university
A first infraction of the conduct code will result in at least a
warning and community service, the university said. A second
infraction will earn a three-game suspension; a third a season-long
suspension. The players came up with the code themselves, he said.
Brodhead said the school had an objective in restoring the team
"[If] we did not allow these players the chance to take
responsibility for creating a new history for their sport at Duke,
we would be denying another very fundamental value: the belief in
the possibility of learning from experience, the belief in
education itself," he said.
Assistant coach Kevin Cassese, a two-time Duke captain and U.S. national team
player, will serve as interim coach of the team while the school
searches for a permanent coach, Brodhead said.
Longtime lacrosse coach Mike Pressler resigned the day Brodhead
canceled the season and will not be considered for the job,
athletics director Joe Alleva said.
Lacrosse player Matt Danowski, 20, said his temmates were
"really excited to get back to a sense of normalcy, and what we
came to do, which is compete for a national championship," he
said. "It's not going to be easy."
The canceled season followed up a year in which Duke set an NCAA
record with 17 victories and were contenders for the national
championship. The Blue Devils had been considered title contenders
again this year.
Following the dancer's allegations, a grand jury in April
indicted sophomore team members Reade Seligmann of Essex Fells,
N.J., and Collin Finnerty of Garden City, N.Y., on charges of rape,
kidnapping and sexual assault. Team co-captain David Evans was
indicted on the same charges in May.
Defense attorneys and Evans have strongly proclaimed the