Colleges unlikely to bar players

St. Paul's seniors to keep scholarships

April 05, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Unless more damaging facts about their participation in the scandal that brought an end to the lacrosse season at St. Paul's are uncovered, the Crusaders' top seniors will not lose college scholarships.

After a majority of its varsity viewed a video a junior varsity player secretly made of himself having sex with a girl from another area private school, the St. Paul's administration canceled the season for the area's No. 1 team.

Attackman Brendan Gill and midfielder Jack de- Villiers, two of the nation's top prospects, signed letters of intent with Virginia, where Gill would be united with his brother Conor.

"The admissions office at any school can always reconsider," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said, when asked if his institution might change its mind about Gill and de-Villiers. "On the outside, it looks like a terrible mistake in judgment was made. Their season being canceled is severe, but whether that's sufficient for the pain that the girl suffered, I don't know.

"As of right now, I stand behind these boys. I think I know these boys. I like them, and I trust them, but I don't know all of the circumstances of their involvement. At some point, I want to sit down with the boys and figure out their role. Right now, they've got a lot to worry about, and I've got a lot to worry about with our team."

Grant Halford, another St. Paul's midfielder, signed a national letter of intent with Loyola College.

"When anyone signs a national letter of intent, the institution and the young man are bound by it," Greyhounds coach Dave Cottle said. "They can't change their mind, we can't change ours. From our perspective, we recruited Grant Halford because he's an outstanding player and a fine young man. As a college coach, you're not privy to exactly what happened, but I talked to Mrs. Halford and Grant the last three nights, and I feel very strongly about his character."

Cottle said Halford intends to play this spring for Mothers, a club team based in Catonsville. Scott Doyle, another Crusaders midfielder, told Delaware coach Bob Shillinglaw that he also will play club lacrosse before he becomes a scholarship player with the Blue Hens next fall.

"Scott explained his involvement and the direction the school is taking," Shillinglaw said. "Our office feels that St. Paul's is going through the process in the right way, and we feel that this should not affect his participation in our program. This is a tragic situation. I've got three daughters, and I can't imagine the situation for her and her family. This is a very ugly scene."

Goalkeeper Tyler Tracy figures to challenge for a starting berth at Towson next season.

"He's a recruited player, but he received no scholarship aid," Tigers coach Tony Seaman said. "He has not been expelled from St. Paul's. I can't speak for our admissions department. ... Certainly Tyler is somebody who would be in the mix for playing time next year."

St. Paul's All-Metro defenseman Charlie Conkling signed a letter of intent with North Carolina. Efforts to contact Tar Heels coach John Haus were unsuccessful. Midfielders Reed Bouchelle and Tim Reid have been accepted at Penn and Harvard, respectively, Ivy League institutions that do not award athletic scholarships.

Trey Whitty, a St. Paul's graduate who is in his second year as a midfielder at the University of Virginia, said canceling the season will affect the juniors on this year's team more than the seniors.

"A student's junior year is the most important year for them in terms of recruiting," Whitty said. "In my case I did not make varsity until my junior year and because I had a good year I was recruited heavily and committed to UVa. just after the season was over. ... For some students, the junior year can make or break their college opportunities.

"It is still possible for many of these students to go to good lacrosse schools, but the school has definitely hurt many of their futures," Whitty said. "This doesn't seem fair to do just because of one mistake that they made. Lacrosse is such a big part of St. Paul's and the entire community, and while some people don't like the fact that lacrosse gets students into college, for many students it is their only way into great schools."

Sun staff writer Andrew A. Green contributed to this article.

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