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Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: October 15, 11:30 AM ET
Athlete suspended for driving friend

By Brendan Hall
ESPNBoston.com

North Andover (Mass.) High School senior volleyball player Erin Cox was suspended for five games and stripped of her captaincy after driving to pick up a friend who was too drunk to drive, according to multiple reports.

The school punished Cox after an incident two weeks ago in which she received a call from a friend who was too drunk to drive home from a party. When Cox arrived to pick up her friend, police already were there and arrested several people for underage possession of alcohol, and warned several others they'd be summoned to court for drinking.

Cox's mother, Eleanor, told the Boston Herald her daughter was among those summoned despite Boxford police officer Brian Neeley vouching for Erin's sobriety. Eleanor Cox filed a lawsuit hoping to reverse the school's decision, citing a written statement from Neeley, but the court ruled Friday it had no jurisdiction over the matter.

"She did what she thought was right, and I'm very proud of her," Eleanor Cox told WBZ-TV in Boston on Sunday night.

Appearing on "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, Eleanor Cox was asked how her daughter is handling the situation.

"She's very fragile, and I'm worried about her," she said. "I'm very worried about her." 

Attorney Geoffrey Bok, who represented the school in court Friday, told the Herald that school officials were left with little choice once police became involved, telling the paper, "The school is trying to take a very serious and principled stand regarding alcohol. And we all get that. Teen drinking is a serious problem."

North Andover athletic director Jon Longley did not respond to messages seeking comment Monday night.

The Cox family attorney, Wendy Murphy, released a statement to "Good Morning America" on Tuesday.

"By punishing Erin Cox, the North Andover School District sends a contrary and very dangerous message -- that young people are better off letting their friends drive drunk," the statement read.