Carolin Dehn-Duhr, Maryland's 6-foot-5 center and the team's only all-Atlantic Coast Conference women's basketball player, said yesterday she considered transferring all season and still is uncertain whether to continue playing because of problems on the team.
Maryland officials are reviewing the program after allegations of shoplifting and drug use by a small number of players. 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.
In a letter she said she planned to give to Coach Chris Weller, Dehn-Duhr, a sophomore, wrote: "The rumors and certain things that went on had a negative influence. So much so, [that] before I started playing as a sophomore, I wondered if I should transfer. . . . Any thought of transferring was a result of certain happenings and rumors that I found conflicting and often difficult to deal with."
Evelyn Duhr, Dehn-Duhr's aunt and legal guardian, said her niece would remain at Maryland next year, and would decide by May whether to stay on the team. Duhr said the two discussed a possible transfer last summer but did not talk to Weller then. But in December, Duhr said she met with Weller to articulate their concerns, which included talk among players of shoplifting and drug use.
"I told Chris, 'We thought of leaving Maryland, and I'll tell you why. There are so many things that go on that we hear.' . . . I wanted her to know everything was in her hands," Duhr said.
Duhr said she did not know if Weller looked into the reports, and Weller said yesterday she would have no comment until the review of the program is completed. She said she expects to meet with Dull today, and a source said a team meeting is also set for today. Individual sessions with Dull, Weller and each player are expected to begin today and continue through the week.
"My concerns were expressed to her [Weller] that there were certain allegations I was aware of through Carolin, and they were my concern throughout," Duhr said. "Both of us found it very difficult."
Duhr said she talked with Weller again near the end of the season, to clarify her niece's position and explain "if Carolin had doubts, it was because of the behavior of some teammates, not Maryland and not you [Weller]."
Dehn-Duhr was twice a Parade all-America in high school. She said she came to Maryland "because I had heard of its successful and fine program; also, because Coach Weller was highly recommended as a coach."
Back on campus from spring break yesterday, two other players declined comment and two were highly supportive of the program. One, junior guard Chris Vera, said, "The rumors are awful, terrible. I don't think they are accurate."
Freshman forward Pam Noyes said, "The stuff I read [in the newspaper] was a total surprise to me. I think it has affected us that these letters have been written."
A player who did not wish to be identified said yesterday she was present when shoplifting occurred, at a 7-Eleven near campus, by two players. She said the two talked en route to the store about whether a particular clerk might be working and then openly took sodas and candy without paying.
Weller has said the allegations facing the program -- which include NCAA violations in the tutoring of a non-team member -- are "a vicious personal attack by a couple of people unhappy with decisions I made early this year." Welsh was the guidance counselor of Sydney Beasley, a forward Weller dropped from the team in November and who transferred to James Madison.