- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The ACC men’s lacrosse tournament will go forward even though Duke canceled its season last week in the wake of rape accusations against three players.

Conference officials announced yesterday the three remaining teams — Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia — would participate in an abbreviated format at M&T; Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Davis Whitfield, the ACC’s assistant commissioner for championships, said the three teams’ records against one another would be the basis for seeding.

Maryland and North Carolina will meet in an 8 p.m. semifinal April 28, with the winner facing Virginia in the final at 3:30 p.m. April 30. Virginia already has clinched the regular-season title.

Duke, an NCAA finalist a year ago and ranked No. 1 in the preseason, was 6-2 when rape accusations made by an exotic dancer against three Blue Devils players surfaced in connection with a March 13-14 incident in Durham, N.C. The school initially forfeited two games, then suspended its season until an investigation is completed.

Duke president Richard Brodhead canceled the remainder of the season, and coach Mike Pressler resigned Wednesday after a threatening e-mail sent by a player was uncovered, leaving the future of the program in doubt.

The conference had told coaches in recent weeks there would be a tournament, assurances that were especially comforting for Virginia. The Cavaliers (11-0) were to play Duke this week and have nothing scheduled for the week after the ACC tournament. Without a tournament, Virginia would have played just once (April 22 against Bellarmine) in a five-week span before the NCAA tournament.

“I wanted to make sure the tournament was going to happen; otherwise, then we’re really in a bind,” Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. “I think this is the only logical choice there is. I don’t think there’s any qualms with the format.”

The ACC began the conference tournament in 1989, and it remained a four-team event for 17 seasons. The league added a women’s tournament in 1997 at the same site as the men’s event. The women’s tournament, now a six-team event with the addition of Boston College and Virginia Tech, will be played as scheduled at M&T; Bank Stadium.

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