|ESPN.com: NCAA||[Print without images]|
Brodhead called the decision "a gamble," but said the players should be allowed to move past the scandal.
"It seems to me if you say, 'I'm sorry, I'll never trust these people until the end of time,' that's one idea," he said. "I think it's a rather unrealistic and inhumane idea."Brodhead said he didn't decide to reinstate the team until this weekend, after all remaining players agreed to a mission statement that emphasizes academics, tolerance and a code of conduct that, among other things, prohibits underage drinking, university officials said. A first infraction of the conduct code will result in at least a warning and community service, the university said. A second infraction will earn a three-game suspension; a third a season-long suspension. The players came up with the code themselves, he said. Brodhead said the school had an objective in restoring the team to competition. "[If] we did not allow these players the chance to take responsibility for creating a new history for their sport at Duke, we would be denying another very fundamental value: the belief in the possibility of learning from experience, the belief in education itself," he said. Assistant coach Kevin Cassese, a two-time Duke captain and U.S. national team player, will serve as interim coach of the team while the school searches for a permanent coach, Brodhead said. Longtime lacrosse coach Mike Pressler resigned the day Brodhead canceled the season and will not be considered for the job, athletics director Joe Alleva said.
Lacrosse player Matt Danowski, 20, said his temmates were "really excited to get back to a sense of normalcy, and what we came to do, which is compete for a national championship," he said. "It's not going to be easy."
The canceled season followed up a year in which Duke set an NCAA record with 17 victories and were contenders for the national championship. The Blue Devils had been considered title contenders again this year.Following the dancer's allegations, a grand jury in April indicted sophomore team members Reade Seligmann of Essex Fells, N.J., and Collin Finnerty of Garden City, N.Y., on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual assault. Team co-captain David Evans was indicted on the same charges in May. Defense attorneys and Evans have strongly proclaimed the players' innocence.