Matt Danowski, the reigning national lacrosse Player of the Year, is among five of Duke's 12 seniors that are contemplating a return to the university next season to take advantage of an NCAA-approved extra year of eligibility, The Baltimore Sun reports.
According to players and team officials, the players would take advantage of a waiver that was granted May 30 to make up for Duke's 2006 season. That season was cut short by rape allegations against three players. Those allegations have since been discredited.
School officials say its premature to announce who is returning as some players haven't been accepted into graduate programs. Officials dispute that Danowski, co-captian Ed Douglas, defenseman Tony McDevitt and two others have considered returning.
Duke coach John Danowski, Matt's father, said this week that the university's athletic department is seeking a new waiver to clarify that Douglas can play another season. Douglas was eligibile as a grad student last year because he sat out his freshman season.
"The appeal is in the process, and I would like to come back," Douglas told the newspaper on Friday.
The outcome of Douglas' appeal could have an effect on the future eligibility of other players who missed a year due to injury or redshirt and may now get two extra seasons.
John Danowski says the eligibility issue isn't about athletics, but rather the players' lives.
"I haven't recruited one kid, including my son. This is not about lacrosse," the coach told the newspaper. "It's about an opportunity to get a master's degree from Duke University, and is that important."
Still, having fifth-year seniors -- or as in Douglas' case, a sixth-year senior -- poses some complications.
"Things have to come together with their schooling, with their scholarship money, with their housing," said Duke sports information director Art Chase told the Sun.
Duke is allotted 12.6 lacrosse scholarships, and most players get a partial share. The team had 41 players last year, but for some, the opportunity to comeback may be tough to resist.
"If I have the chance to get a master's degree from Duke University, that's a tough thing to turn down," McDevitt told the newspaper recently.