University Diaries
A professor of English describes American university life.
Aim: To change things.
Contact UD at: margaret-dot-soltan-at-gmail-dot-com

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Via Chris's Signifying Nothing...

... an article in the Herald-Sun notes:

A high-level review of the men’s lacrosse team’s disciplinary records last year prompted Duke’s athletics director to warn the coach his team was “under the microscope” and that players needed to improve their conduct, the director said Monday.

At the time, the team’s reputation nationally was for winning games. Today, the team stands disgraced, with two players indicted on still-undisclosed charges stemming from an alleged gang rape at a team party, the season terminated and the coach forced out of his job.

Although the team’s reputation for drinking and debauchery has drawn attention since the rape allegation last month, an explicit warning to Coach Mike Pressler about the team’s behavior has not been previously revealed.

Pressler has been portrayed as an innocent victim of events, but this news puts a different spin on things.

In a comment thread at Chris's, a few Duke/Durham insiders speculate about repercussions beyond the resignation of Pressler -- perhaps up to Duke's president.


UPDATE: Here's the New York Times on some of the same prehistory:

Last December, the university's executive vice president, Tallman Trask III, had reviewed disciplinary records of athletic teams and considered the number given to lacrosse players — 15 in three years — to be a "red flag." But he said the incidents had been so minor, for holding beer cans in public and public urination, that it would not have raised worries about rape.

University officials, however, have said that the coach of the men's lacrosse team, Mike Pressler, had not issued any reprimand to Mr. Finnerty [one of the indicted players] over his assault charge.

Mr. Finnerty had been arrested with two teammates from his high school lacrosse team in the Georgetown section of Washington on Nov. 5, after a man told police at 2:30 a.m. that they "had punched him in the face and body, because he told them to stop calling him gay and other derogatory names," according to court records.

Mr. Finnerty's lawyer in that case, Steven J. McCool, said that the student had entered the District of Columbia's diversionary program, and that the assault charge would be dismissed after the completion of 25 hours of community service.

Art Chase, the Duke sports information director for lacrosse, said that Mr. Pressler had been aware of some, but perhaps not all of the details of Mr. Finnerty's case.

"Coach did his own investigation looking into the matter and he allowed the court system to iron itself out there in regards to the player," Mr. Chase said.