Two men’s basketball freshmen cited for underage drinking

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Two men’s basketball freshmen cited for underage drinking

RMU Athletics

RMU Athletics

RMU Athletics

Brooke Smith, Sports Editor

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  Homecoming dances are about having fun with friends in various fashions.  For two members of the Robert Morris University men’s basketball team, October 7, 2011 turned into a nightmare.  Two freshmen were cited for underage drinking, and were then taken to Sewickley Valley hospital where they then spent time in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

  According to men’s basketball head coach, Andrew Toole, the players had practice earlier in the day; they did not have anything to eat throughout the day, and began drinking before the dance on an empty stomach.

  “Obviously we’re not glad this happened, we’re disappointed that this happened,” stated Toole.  “The first thing you worry about is the health concerns that go with it, and the second thing you worry about is how they can learn from it and how it cannot happen again.”

  Robert Morris University Athletic Director, Dr. Craig Coleman, also issued a statement regarding the incident:

  “Our Athletic Department takes the issues of underage alcohol use and alcohol abuse at any age very seriously. Because of the medical consequences of their actions, as well as the disciplinary measures that are being taken, we hope that these young men have learned a valuable lesson. Our athletes also need to understand that because of the high profile that society gives to athletes, not only are their athletic accomplishments made very public, but so are their transgressions. Several students on campus have been cited for underage drinking in the past, and some even have been hospitalized, but only high profile athletes have these mistakes written about in the newspaper. This means that our athletes have a responsibility to behave beyond reproach.”

  As far as punishment goes, the two players involved have already been suspended from practice for a total of ten days.

  “They had to do a lot of extra conditioning, workouts, wake up early in the morning, they were punished in that way during their time,” explained Coach Toole.  “They have certain things that they are going to have to comply with obviously through the university in terms of sanctions and the judicial board, and they are also facing the underage drinking citation and what comes of that so all of those things combined are what their punishment has been.”

  Coach Toole wants this incident to serve as a learning experience for his team, and make them aware that they need to be aware of their social responsibilities. 

  “You have to understand what you’re dealing with and what you’re doing, and if you’re underage you probably shouldn’t be drinking alcohol.  And regardless of what situation you’re in there needs to be some sort of social responsibility,” acknowledges Toole.  “You have to think about your actions.  You have to think about the consequences of your actions, and then unfortunately if you make bad decisions, you have to own up to it and try to make it better.”

  He also wants this situation to serve as a good learning experience for RMU students, and make it known that things can escalate more quickly than one might imagine they would.

  “You have to make sure you’re being responsible about how you drink, when you drink, you have to make sure you are taking care of yourself around the clock not just in terms of alcohol but also getting up and eating, and getting the right amount of rest and doing all of the things you have to do to take care of your body,” said Toole.   “You have this huge amount of freedom that you never had and sometimes it can be hard to maintain a discipline and time management to make proper decisions.”

  While the situation that these two players found themselves in was definitely not a good one, Coach Toole realizes that it could have been a lot worse. 

  “It’s a scary situation because you know things can get out of control much quicker than anyone probably realizes,” admitted Toole.   “That’s kind of what happened to these two guys and it’s scary, it’s really scary.”

  One final thing that Coach Toole wants his players to realize is that being a Division I athlete here at RMU is not a right, but a privilege. 

  “It can be taken away from you very, very quickly if you don’t act in accordance to the standards of this program and the university and the athletic department and all of the people that care and put a lot of effort into Robert

Morris University and Robert Morris University basketball and athletics,” explained Toole.  “That’s a lesson that they have to learn and unfortunately they learned it the hard way.”