University of Maryland women's basketball Coach Chris Weller warned her team "two or three times" in less than two months last fall about allegations that team members had been involved in shoplifting, it was learned.
Maryland is reviewing the program after allegations of shoplifting and drug use by a small number of players on the team. Those allegations were contained in letters to Athletic Director Dick Dull and Chancellor John Slaughter by Janet Welsh, vice president of the Rebounders, the team's booster club.
Players began returning to campus from spring break last night and Weller said she expected to meet with Dull Tuesday after she returns from the Final Four of the women's NCAA tournament in Lexington, Ky.
It was reported last week that Weller had warned the team once in a meeting about allegations presented to the athletic department that two players had been involved in shoplifting. Weller said she also spoke privately to the players.
But a source this weekend said that, by the time the season was a few games old, the subject had been brought up before the entire team on two or three occasions in "lectures," although no players were charged.
Asked to comment yesterday, Weller said: "I told you Dick and I will be investigating the allegations. We will look into all of that when we meet on Tuesday. I've made all the comments that can be made right now."
Last week, a former player said a teammate had returned to campus with merchandise she said she had stolen and bragged about it, at one point offering to sell shoes she had taken that did not fit.
Weller said last week that she did not believe there was an ongoing problem with either shoplifting or drugs. Weller sent three players to a campus drug program in the 1984-85 season after they admitted to smoking marijuana in the presence of a recruit. A letter written by Welsh to Slaughter last month and obtained by The Washington Post cited "persons close to the team" who alleged one player "has persisted in using drugs, particularly the days prior to game days."
Welsh was on vacation and could not be reached for comment yesterday.