Former La Salle basketball star Gary Neal, who was acquitted of a rape charge three weeks ago and is hoping to resume his career at Towson University, is expected to be cleared to play by the school next week, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources said an administrative review committee headed by Towson athletic director Wayne Edwards has recommended to university president Dr. Robert Caret that Neal, a Calvert Hall graduate who also starred at Aberdeen High School, be allowed to join the Tigers. Edwards declined to comment on the review.
If, as expected, Caret approves the recommendation, Neal could begin practicing with the Tigers by late next week. Neal, 21, who is about to complete his second semester at Towson, would be eligible to play on Dec. 21, when the Tigers play host to VMI.
Neal, a 6-foot-4 guard who was the Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Year and averaged 18.6 points per game in two seasons at La Salle, was charged with rape, assault and related offenses after an incident in Philadelphia on June 24, 2004. A 19-year-old student from the University of New Haven claimed Neal and another ex-LaSalle teammate, Michael Cleaves, victimized her.
Neal and Cleaves maintained they had consensual sex with the woman. A jury acquitted both men, discounting prosecutors' contention the woman involved was too drunk to consent to sex.
The Tigers already have parted ways this fall with a basketball player who encountered legal trouble. Terrance Whiters, a guard from Baltimore who transferred last year from Loyola (Ill.), withdrew from the school in September after being charged with two third-degree sex offenses and armed robbery.