Towson State University's field hockey team will forfeit its last two games because of a weekend incident that led to a freshman player being taken to a hospital with alcohol poisoning, sources at the school confirmed yesterday.
Athletic director Wayne Edwards issued a statement yesterday saying that the team's playing privileges had been suspended for the duration of the season because of a violation of institutional policy.
Edwards said he would not specify what the violation was, but that, "It had nothing to do with an NCAA problem," and it did not include head coach Michelle Frates.
A source said the incident involving alcohol was part of a freshman initiation. There are 20 players on the team, and eight of them are in their first year. The player who was taken to the hospital was treated and released the same day.
When asked how many of the team members were involved in the incident, Edwards said, "A significant number of them; a majority."
"All I can say is it's a violation of the student code of conduct and it was obviously a significant violation, otherwise we wouldn't have taken the action that we have," he said.
"It was something that would have pertained to any other student here. It's not a matter of it being a student-athlete situation. The coach has been very supportive in terms of the actions that we've had to take."
Frates also would not discuss specifics of the suspension, but said: "I think we learned a big lesson. I'm disappointed, but I think the athletic department took the right punishment. It was well-deserved. It was a serious, serious violation."
Edwards met with the team Tuesday night and informed the players that their season was over.
"I've talked to the university's student life people and they've indicated that, based on some confidentiality issues, I really shouldn't get into detail other than to indicate it's a violation of conduct codes that pertain to all students at the university," he said.
The Tigers had games remaining today at Hofstra and Saturday at home against Georgetown. They needed two wins to complete their first nonlosing season in 10 years, but instead will finish 6-10.