Sports Outside the Beltway

Duke Men’s Lacrosse Program to be Reinstated

Duke University is reinstating its men’s lacrosse program next season, after having suspended them when three team members were accused of raping a stripper.

The Duke University men’s lacrosse program, which was suspended from play following accusations of rape, will be reinstated next week, ESPN’s George Smith reported Friday. A news conference is expected Monday. On Friday night, Duke spokesman John Burness denied that the school planned to announce the team would play next season.

Former three-time Duke All-American Kevin Cassese, 25, who served as an assistant Blue Devils coach last season, will run the program pending a national search for a head coach, Newsday reported.

Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead announced on March 28 that the university was suspending future games of the men’s lacrosse team until there was a clearer resolution of the legal situation involving team members.

On May 1, a Duke University committee recommended that the lacrosse program be reinstated.

Three Duke lacrosse players — Reade Seligmann, 20, Collin Finnerty, 19, and co-captain David Evans, 23, — have been charged with raping a woman hired to dance at a March 13 team party. Coach Mike Pressler resigned shortly after the accusations were first made, ending a 16-year tenure marked by three Atlantic Coast Conference championships and a trip to the 2005 national final.

In an unrelated incident, a member of the team was charged with driving while impaired and possession of marijuana last week in Chapel Hill.

Even though they are in all likelihood not guilty of rape, there is clearly a discipline problem on the lacrosse team. It was, however, a truly bizarre reaction on the part of the university to suspend the team, including the players accused of nothing, based on allegations made by a stripper.

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