Duke lacrosse case echoes

Published October 15, 2006

Seven months after the off-campus party at the heart of the unresolved rape case involving the Duke lacrosse team, colleges across the country have profoundly changed how they respond to even the most minor indiscretions by athletes.

Three Duke players have pleaded not guilty and the court case is months away. But dozens of high-profile colleges and universities have systematically rewritten athletic department policies, stiffened student-athlete codes of conduct, and altered coaches' contracts, holding them responsible for players' actions.

"The Duke situation has had a chilling effect," said Lee McElroy, the athletic director at the SUNY-Albany, who is also president of the national association of athletic directors. "There's no question athletic administrators everywhere, maybe even corporate executives everywhere, saw the lessons learned. Athletic administrators have been quick to change."

This season, four Georgia players and two from Texas were suspended for as many as three games for off-the-field episodes involving underage drinking and misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Other sports

SWIMMING: Tampa opened its season with a 444-84 victory over visiting Florida Southern in a Sunshine State Conference meet in which the Spartans won every event but one. Jessie Bardin, a freshman from St. Petersburg, won three races for the Spartans. ... Florida handed the host Michigan men their first dual meet loss in an opener in 39 years, 135-106. The Gator women defeated the Wolverines 124-119, recording 13 NCAA provisional qualifying times.

MEN'S SOCCER: Host Tampa lost 5-0 to Lynn, ranked ninth in the NSCAA Division II poll. The loss eliminated UT (5-9, 1-6) from contention for the SSC tournament.

VOLLEYBALL: USF (9-10, 4-2 Big East) earned its second straight five-game win, beating host Georgetown 21-30, 30-21, 30-27, 28-30, 15-11. The Bulls won a five-game match Wednesday at North Florida.

WOMEN'S GOLF: UF climbed into eighth after two days at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championships in Knoxville, Tenn., shooting 299. Ornella Jouven shot 73 to move into a tie for seventh. Auburn (588) was first, four strokes ahead of Georgia.