Athlete is barred from dorms, sports at Towson State Player charged with assault permitted to attend classes

May 07, 1991|By Deborah I. Greene | Deborah I. Greene,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

Based on preliminary information from police, The Sun reported incorrectly in its editions of Monday and Tuesday that Kevin Greimel, a Towson State University student, had his neck broken in a fight with another student. A spokesman for the Maryland Shock Trauma Center said yesterday that Mr. Greimel suffered multiple facial fractures and abrasions.

The Sun regrets the error.

Towson State University stopped short of expelling a football player charged with assault with intent to murder in a fight that broke another student's neck -- opting, instead, to bar him from campus dorms and the football team.

University officials reached their decision yesterday after listening for two hours as Gregory Andress, 20, told his version of the fight early Sunday with Kevin Greimel, which left the victim bloodied and unconscious.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Katherine Williams, a university spokeswoman, said Mr. Andress may attend class on campus but will live elsewhere and not participate in any school activities, including sports.

She said the university reserves the right to take "further disciplinary action" pending the disposition of criminal charges. The accounting major, who was released on his own recognizance Sunday afternoon, faces a possible jail term if he is convicted in the beating of Mr. Greimel after an off-campus party.

Mr. Greimel was listed in stable and satisfactory condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center yesterday.

Baltimore County police said the assault was an example of the growing problem of student misconduct off campus. Last year, they logged hundreds of complaints from Towson bar owners that ranged from disorderly conduct and under-age drinking to battery and stabbings.

The calls tapered off in the summer and winter months that the university was not in session, but once classes resumed, so did the complaints, said Officer Brian L. Ennis of the Towson precinct.

"With all the trouble they get into, they're not scared of [the police] at all," Officer Ennis said.

"Their fear is of being kicked out of school. Then it becomes a question of losing tuition and what their parents will do."

In January, police met with university officials, Towson tavern owners and liquor board officers to decide how to deal with student misconduct off-campus, which often involves student athletes and drinking, police said.

Most of the tavern owners cooperated, agreeing not to hire Towson State students as bartenders or doormen because of the possibility they would allow their friends and underaged students to enter the bar illegally.

Before the agreement, rowdiness and scores of weekend fights seemed inevitable, said Kevin P. Kennedy, a manager at Poor Richard's in Towson.

"Two people would become rowdy, and the whole crowd gathers to watch. Soon it was a big party in the street to watch them fight," Mr. Kennedy said. The manager said the problems diminished after the agreement with police.

When they met in January, TSU officials told police they were not aware of the "magnitude of the problem." At the suggestion of police, the university said it would reinforce administrative penalties for misconduct off campus that could range from mandatory counseling to suspension and expulsion.

Ms. Williams, the university spokeswoman, said school officials were unsure if they had a "right to take action against students for things they did off campus" but the Maryland attorney general's office advised them that they could take disciplinary .. action.

The beating of Kevin Greimel is a prime example of action that would impel the penalties, she said.

Friends of the 6-foot 2-inch, 236-pound linebacker said Mr. Andress struggled to control his temper while arguing with Kevin Greimel about 3 a.m. Sunday while a group of seven friends was driving home from a party in Hillendale given by members of the lacrosse team. All but the driver of the pickup had been drinking.

An argument began after Mr. Andress, seated in the passenger side of his truck, warned Mr. Greimel to stop throwing things from the back of the vehicle.

Words turned to fist-fighting, and Mr. Andress told the driver to stop the truck so the pair could settle their dispute.

However, Mr. Greimel was tricked into getting out of the pickup and nearly left behind by the group, students said.

George T. Mohring, one of the students in the pickup, told police that the truck stopped after a short distance "because we all agreed that we couldn't leave [Mr. Greimel] behind, even if he was being a jerk."

But the argument continued after Mr. Greimel returned to the vehicle. Scott Tull, another passenger in the pickup, said the two men wrestled on the ground and then Mr. Andress backed off.

"Greg stopped and said he 'needed to keep his head on straight,' but Kevin got in his face and started yelling," Mr. Tull said.

Mr. Greimel was eventually thrown to the ground and hit his head on the cement.

Michael Curcio, the driver, said the friends placed Mr. Greimel's limp body in the bed of the pickup truck and, after a "vote," decided to take him to St. Joseph Hospital, where they told a receptionist they found the unconscious man lying on the side of the road.

Mr. Greimel was later transferred to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The friends changed their story when police determined that Mr. Griemel left the party with the men who brought him to the hospital.

The friends told police that they had thought Mr. Greimel would be all right early Sunday as they watched a nurse wheel him into St. Joseph's emergency room.

"We were all calm with the situation," Mr. Mohring told police as he recalled the argument that led to the fight. "Things like this happen among our friends all the time and no one ever ends up swinging at the other."

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