Howard Women's Season in Limbo
Howard University in Washington, D.C., recently self-reported violations to the NCAA and last week ruled a number of athletes ineligible from participation in a variety of spring sports, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
Howard suspended all intercollegiate activity last week, a school spokesperson told the Post. That includes women's lacrosse contests. The team's last two scheduled games – at home vs. Longwood on March 30 and at home vs. Liberty on April 1 – were not played. The game against Longwood was cancelled and the Liberty game is listed on Liberty's website as a Howard forfeit.
The nature of the violations has not been released by the university and the spokesperson on Thursday did not reveal the number of athletes who were ruled ineligible, but Washington City Paper first reported Wednesday the problems centered on textbook vouchers given to athletes. In its article Thursday, the Post cited a Howard softball and football player who each said some athletes apparently were pocketing the difference between the cost of their textbooks and their textbook allowance, and it was a widespread practice among teams.
Hamilton said Howard teams will participate in "most, but not all" of games that are scheduled to take place on Friday and next week. The women's lacrosse team is next scheduled to play April 10 at Wesleyan (Conn.).
In the meantime, after the self-reported violations, the school's spring sports are in limbo. A women's tennis match scheduled against Navy for Thursday was cancelled, and the NCAA has not made any public comments.
“The university is working aggressively to reinstate student-athletes as quickly as possible,” Hamilton told the Post. “That process has begun. I don’t know how long those processes take. I mean, it could be today. It could have been last night. It could be this morning. It could be by game time. And so I don’t want to suggest that we’ll compete or not compete. Those circumstances could change because of how feverishly we’re working to get this situation resolved.”
Howard, in its 15th season, is the only Division I women's lacrosse program fielded by a historically black college or university and is coached by second-year coach Sarah Schermerhorn. The Bison were the subject of a November 2011 feature in Lacrosse Magazine.
Stay tuned for more developments in this story.