- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2006

The Georgetown lacrosse team arrived at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C., last weekend to face then-No. 2 Duke.

Instead, the Hoyas became a footnote in a burgeoning scandal that has sent tremors through the sport.

Georgetown learned about two hours before it was to play that Duke had decided to forfeit the game, as well as the Blue Devils’ scheduled meeting with Mount St. Mary’s three days later. The Blue Devils have been under investigation since a woman hired as an exotic dancer accused three players of raping her at a March 13 off-campus party attended by many members of the team.

Duke president Richard Brodhead announced Tuesday the Blue Devils would not play until the legal situation is resolved.

However, the Duke situation affects plenty of teams throughout the sport. The NCAA has declared any game the Blue Devils sit out a “no contest” rather than a forfeit, which is especially irksome for Georgetown.

“We were there. The officials were there ready to officiate,” Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. “To me, that fits the definition of a forfeit. From the NCAA’s standpoint, the team needs to go out on the field and the officials need to go out and then it’s in the hands of the officials. … If they needed to have a dress rehearsal, that seems a little odd. That’s for other people to sort out.”

Urick, whose fifth-ranked Hoyas (5-1) visit No. 6 Navy (7-1) today at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, wants to find out whether he can add a game this late in the season. If Duke doesn’t play again, several teams — Army, Denver, Johns Hopkins, Ohio State and Virginia — also would lose a game.

Even if those schools can add games, it will be difficult to manage it around established weekend dates, conference tournaments and final exam schedules.

“We’ve considered making a call to Army or Virginia or Hopkins,” Urick said. “It’d have to be a midweek game. I’m not sure we can do that from an NCAA standpoint. … If we’re allowed to add another game, then that’s something we’d like to be able to do.”

ACC title at stake?

With Duke’s season in limbo, there is a chance today’s game between No. 1 Virginia (9-0) and No. 3 Maryland (6-1) at Byrd Stadium will serve as a de facto ACC regular-season championship game.

The Terrapins already have defeated Duke and North Carolina and would clinch the top seed in the April 28-30 ACC tournament with a victory against Virginia. The Cavaliers open ACC play today and are scheduled to meet North Carolina and Duke the next two weekends.

If Duke does not resume its schedule, it would mean the top seed would earn a bye into the title game of a three-team tournament.

“I can’t focus on it,” Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. “I don’t know what it would change in what I’m doing here. The implications may be significant, but with everything going on, this game seems so insignificant in a lot of ways.

“It’s a bit of a Catch-22. Someone asked me how does it affect Virginia and Virginia lacrosse. With the magnitude for the people that are directly involved in Raleigh-Durham, how this affects Virginia lacrosse is not important this second.”

Syracuse scuffling

Two years ago, defending national champion Virginia couldn’t overcome a slow start and finished 5-8. Last year, perennial contender Princeton stumbled to a 5-7 season.

This spring, it appears Syracuse will be the blue blood to endure a rocky year.

The Orange, who have played much of the season without injured midfielders Steve Brooks and Greg Rommel, fell to 1-4 after losing 9-8 to Hobart on Tuesday at the Carrier Dome. It was Syracuse’s first loss to its upstate New York neighbor since 1986.

Syracuse, which meets visiting No. 19 Loyola this afternoon, has lost four straight for the first time since 1981 and is 1-4 for the first time since 1975. The Orange must go at least 5-2 the rest of the season even to be eligible for the tournament, which means they must beat at least one of No. 2 Cornell, No. 7 Princeton and No. 8 Massachusetts.

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