After reports surfaced yesterday about two Penn State Men’s Rugby players being charged for burning down the team’s on-campus shed, Penn State Athletics decided to suspend the team entirely.
This statement, attributed to Penn State Athletics, was distributed by Assistant Athletic Director Jeff Nelson:
“Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics has suspended the men’s rugby team from practice and competition, effective immediately. The team’s scheduled contests this weekend vs. Navy and Susquehanna are canceled.
“The Student Conduct office has begun a judicial review of a case of arson in which two rugby team members were charged with the crime. Athletics is looking into the matter as well. There will not be any further comment on this matter until the Student Conduct office and Athletics have completed their reviews.
“Men’s rugby is a team sport that is part of Penn State’s Club sports program.”
Penn State’s club sports programs are under the purview of Intercollegiate Athletics, although they are not considered varsity sports and are, some say, horribly underfunded.
According to the police report on the shed fire, the rugby players left a party at their house that night with a lighter and a bottle of lighter fluid and made comments about going to “mess with the shed.” The two players admitted to burning down the shed in police interviews last month, claiming they only meant to burn a piece of equipment in front of the shed, but the fire spread too quickly to put out. It was located near the Red A parking lot on North Atherton Street. Oddly enough, the shed was used to store equipment for the rugby and cross country teams.
Each is charged with eight counts, including arson, criminal conspiracy and criminal mischief. The pair was released today on $25,000 bail.