Maryland university suspends 5 women's lacrosse players

BALTIMORE (AP) Five members of the University of Maryland Baltimore County women's lacrosse team have been suspended indefinitely for writing text messages that threatened freshmen on the squad, the school's athletic director said Monday.

UMBC athletic director Tim Hall said the messages were written in GroupMe, which claims to be ''a private chat room for your small group.''

Hall did not discuss specifics of the texts in an interview Monday, but he said the school has taken steps to protect the team's freshmen. In addition to suspending the five players, the squad has been practicing recently without any contact drills.

''This type of behavior and language from any student is concerning and it doesn't reflect the community standards at UMBC as an institution,'' Hall said. ''What we have done for anybody who has reached out is to assure and reassure that we have put the appropriate safety measures in place, because the welfare of our student-athletes is our highest priority.''

Mackenzie Reese, Alyssa Semones, Amber Kovalick, Meghan Milani and Brittany Marquess have been suspended, with no timetable for their return.

''We wanted to be open-ended to say indefinitely, until we have a better and more comprehensive understanding of the situation,'' Hall said. ''Situations of this nature need to be looked at very thoroughly and sometimes they can take some time. We won't sacrifice thoroughness for expediency.''

The women apologized in a statement issued on their behalf late Monday, saying, ''Our stance was utterly inappropriate and we are deeply sorry to the many we negatively impacted, particularly our hard-working teammates who deserve much better.''

The players have already missed two games: last Wednesday against Drexel and Saturday against Manhattan.

In addition, Retrievers co-coach Tony Giro was not on the sideline for the Drexel game.

''That was a decision I made administratively at that time,'' Hall said, though he would not elaborate.

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