Updated — today's items:
Lorenzo Perez, News & Observer:
Duke lacrosse players get back their lost year -- The NCAA agreed Wednesday to give back to Duke lacrosse players what their own university took away last year.
The NCAA, known more for deliberations that take months rather than days, granted Duke a speedy OK on its request to award an extra year of eligibility to men's lacrosse players whose 2006 season was derailed by rape allegations.
According to the NCAA, it received the petition from Duke early last week. The "season-of-competition waiver" covers 33 players, including All-America Matt Danowski, who is the son of the coach, and 12 other seniors who assumed their collegiate playing careers ended in Monday's 12-11 loss to Johns Hopkins in the NCAA championship game. ...
Duke athletics director Joe Alleva called Wednesday's decision "a fair resolution to our situation."
The pendulum of popular opinion on Duke's lacrosse team has swung so dramatically that during Monday's broadcast of the NCAA championship game, ESPN announcers referred to Duke as "America's team." Yet Wednesday's move did not have everyone in the lacrosse community waving flags and cheering.
Brian Delaney,Ithaca Journal:
Cornell's Tambroni ‘shocked' at Duke ruling -- Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni was stunned to learn that the NCAA granted a season-of-competition waiver Wednesday afternoon to 33 student-athletes who were members of the 2006 Duke men's lacrosse team.
An NCAA release said the waiver was requested by Duke University for “all men's lacrosse student-athletes who were not seniors during the 2006 season.”
Tambroni, whose team lost to Duke, 12-11, on Saturday in the national semifinals, said his initial reaction was simply, “Wow.” The decision was unexpected considering the Blue Devils had already played eight games and forfeited a ninth before their season was canceled — by the university — due to rape allegations that were eventually proven false.
“I'm shocked, to be very honest with you, that they got it back, but that's based on little to no information about what information and criteria the NCAA based its decision on,” said Tambroni, who was in Washington Wednesday night for the Tewaaraton Trophy banquet. “It's not my place (to judge). But based on everything I've seen throughout my tenure as a coach, knowing the kind of decisions (the NCAA has) made in the past, the number of games Duke played and that their season was ended by the University and not the NCAA makes it more surprising.” ...--------Pete Thamel, NY Times:
Duke Players Given Extra Eligibility -- The N.C.A.A. granted a waiver yesterday for an extra year of eligibility to 33 Duke men’s lacrosse players, a surprising decision that will reverberate in the sport for the next three seasons. ...
Virginia Coach Dom Starsia criticized the N.C.A.A. decision in a telephone interview, saying, “Are we rewarding them for what happened?” ...
A larger issue is that the Duke administration has never admitted that it erred. Starsia said that “most of the wounds were self-inflicted.”
“I know that the coaches and players wanted an explanation, or an apology maybe, before they wanted the extra year back,” he said. “In lieu of that, Duke stepped up and said, ‘Look what we’re doing for you.’ I don’t think anyone is being held accountable for what happened here.”
Pressler, now the coach at Bryant University in Rhode Island, said: “I can’t be more thrilled for those players. That’s great for the team. But what happens to the class of 2006? What happens to those young men who never got a chance to put on the uniform again?” ...
KC Johnson: Class & No Class -- Reaction from opposing coaches to the NCAA’s decision to grant an additional year of eligibility to the non-freshmen on this year’s Duke lacrosse team ranged from classy to the reverse...
Duke Basketball Report: NCAA Lacrosse Eligibility-------LaxPower.com:
Duke Reaction to NCAA Ruling Granting Extra Eligibility --
Joe Alleva, Director of Athletics
"We're gratified by this decision from the NCAA, and feel it is a fair resolution to our situation," said Joe Alleva, Duke's Director of Athletics. "This represents the NCAA's recognition of how extraordinary the circumstances surrounding our team were last spring."
John Danowski, Head Coach
"The opportunity for the young men in our program to continue their education is of great benefit," said Duke head coach John Danowski. "The guys will take an individual look at their options, and we'll certainly help them in that decision-making process."
Tony McDevitt, senior defenseman
"When we think back to our junior season and losing that year and not having the opportunity to go and compete for a national championship and not being able to play the sport that we love, that hurt just as much as us losing the national championship game this Monday. It is well deserved and we're happy that the NCAA made the right decision. Now, it's just about weighing our options and seeing what's out there...
LaxPower interview with Tony McDevitt, speaking shortly after the NCAA announcement was made.-------Mike Keegan, Inside Lacrosse:
Reaction to the Duke eligibility ruling from defenseman Tony McDevitt -- (IL) Are you leaning one way or another?
TM: I’m right in the middle. The athlete in me can never give it up. It’s very tough to give it up. Also, on top of that, to get an advanced degree or some added educational value, that really, it goes without saying, is unbelievable. Those are two big factors. But, this is a good decision to have to make.------Jack Carey & Thomas O'Toole, USA Today:
Duke lacrosse players granted an extra year -- NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said the reinstatement rule allows for "extenuating circumstances," and extra years are granted from time to time for various reasons. Osburn said some athletes in the Gulf Coast region were granted an extra year after Hurricane Katrina disrupted their seasons.
Men’s lacrosse championship: the view from section 139 -- What struck me most while I was walking around the concourse at M&T Bank Stadium was not so much the noticeable increase in people sporting Duke Lacrosse apparel as compared to the levels at the championship game in Philadelphia two years ago, but the sheer number of lacrosse enthusiasts that had made the pilgrimage to what has effectively become the Super Bowl for their sport.The team did not re-emerge until two minutes before the game’s 1:09 p.m. official start time, and when they did it was something to behold. With the stadium loudspeakers blaring U2’s “City of Blinding Lights”, the team marched slowly and deliberately down the field in a rather stoic fashion, the sort of thing you usually see in sports movies with the slow-motion shots like the one of the astronauts walking up to the launch platform in The Right Stuff; although the cynic in me felt it was a little too-Hollywood and geared for ESPN’s cameras, there definitely was electricity going through the building that made it quite a poignant and memorable moment...
That said, one could tell that the Hopkins players were ticked off and felt shown up by the whole thing, which probably gave them some extra motivation and may have lead to the quick opening goal.
After cheering on Hopkins’ first half onslaught, the building seemed to be willing to let Duke back into the game during the second half, with each Blue Devil goal raising the crowd volume considerably. By the time Duke tied the game at 11 and Hopkins quickly retook the lead, the entire stadium was in a frenzy, with many fans spending the rest of the game on their feet and living and dying as shot after shot went just wide or ricocheted off the post.
Even I found myself clutching the chair in front of me for support, a practice I usually reserve for Redskins and Yankees games. Overall, it was probably one of the most exciting sporting events I’ve seen all year, especially after Saturday’s last-second semifinal victory over Cornell.
Defending the Durham Status Quo -- Last November, Durham’s black voters gave Mike Nifong around 95 percent of their votes. In recent weeks, however, the actions of Mayor Bill Bell, in particular, have made clear that the district attorney now enjoys scant support from the city’s African-American community. Bell also has made clear that he wants to see the truth about the police investigation’s errors.
It’s worth remembering, however, that the disgraced Durham district attorney is not still in office because of the black vote alone. Nifong also received robust backing from Durham’s far left—politically through the People’s Alliance, journalistically through Indy. And while neither the People’s Alliance nor Indy are any longer defending their onetime hero, they—quite unlike Durham’s key African-American leaders—still seem to see little wrong with the case that so tarnished their city...
Some of the best players and moments in college lacrosse this season -- With Johns Hopkins claiming its ninth national championship on Memorial Day earlier this week, the college lacrosse season officially came to an end as the Blue Jays claimed an astonishing 12-11 win over top-seeded Duke in a thrilling title game that saw two teams fight and scrap to the finish.
So with another year in the books, there's still some time to reflect on the 2007 season before next spring brings back more of the spectacular goals, acrobatic saves and compelling moments that college lacrosse fans witnessed for the last three months.
These were some of the best players and moments over the season.
Attackman of the Year - Matt Danowski, Duke
While the senior out of Farmingdale, N.Y., couldn't complete his dream of hoisting up a national championship trophy, Danowski sure was one highlight reel after another this season...
Danowski, Kjellman capture 2007 Tewaaraton honors (IL) -- College lacrosse’s most prestigious individual honor, the Tewaaraton Trophy, which recognizes the nation’s most outstanding men’s and women’s player for the 2007 season, was awarded Wednesday night to Duke senior attackman Matt Danowski and Northwestern senior midfielder Kristen Kjellman at the University Club of Washington, D.C. It was the second time in as many years that Kjellman has taken home the honor.
For Danowski, the Blue Devils’ all-time career points leader with 256 following an `07 season in which he compiled 96 points (44g, 52a) – a Duke and ACC single-season record – it was his first time earning the accolade. Remarkably, he achieved that career-points mark despite appearing in just eight games in `06 after Duke’s season was cut short amid legal controversy shortly after a March 21 loss to Cornell.
Few players in college lacrosse have brought the type of versatility – he’s the only player in NCAA history to record a 50-goal, 40-assist season and a 40-goal, 50-assist season – and production on the offensive end that Danowski did, not only in his record-setting senior season at Duke, which earned him first-team All-American honors for the second time in his career (he also earned that distinction in 2005), but throughout his four years in Durham.
A starter in every game since arriving on campus, Danowski is one of just three players in ACC history to earn both Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors...
Danowski and Duke the perfect fit -- Despite its loss to iconic Johns Hopkins for the national title, Duke coach John Danowski still tops the college lacrosse world in a vindication that saw Duke's program move from reviled to relevant to this short of revered.
A year ago, Danowski, then Hofstra's coach, had pain from afar, even though he seemed close enough to the mess at Duke to be scalded. Danowski had a son on the team and everyone wanted coach Danowski's take on what was transpiring. Larry King invited him to speak on CNN, but not for his views on the sport, so King's viewer phone call of `Missoula, Montana for John Danowski'' never occurred...
Duke lacrosse not only survived, it came within a whisker of the national championship. A program that had taken a malicious hit and perhaps came close to extinction had fortified the university.
Danowski can bask in it all. He came into a precarious situation and made it win-win all the way around. He'll get his national championship before he's finished.
Duke lacrosse is healed. Danowski play a big role.
Indicators of False Accusations (Updated) -- Originally published November 28, 2006, this post has been updated to reflect subsequently released information and Durham Chief of Police Steve Chalmers' attempt to pretend that Crystal Mangum outsmarted his investigators with her transparently false accusations.