Janet Welsh, the University of Maryland women's basketball booster whose letters to Athletic Director Dick Dull and Chancellor John Slaughter alleging drug use and shoplifting by a small number of team members resulted in an internal review, has denied that her allegations were prompted by a vendetta against Coach Chris Weller.
Meanwhile, the athletic department has completed interviews in its review, and Dull said yesterday he will be making conclusions and submitting them in writing to Slaughter as soon as possible.
Dull said it would be up to Slaughter whether the findings will be made public. Slaughter was unavailable for comment.
In another development, it was learned that David Sysma, one of the team's academic tutors for the last three seasons, resigned because "working for Chris Weller and being a friend of Dr. Welsh's is in itself a conflict."
Dull said that 20 to 25 people were interviewed during the review by Weller; Randy Hoffman, the university's associate athletic director; and Gothard Lane, assistant athletic director in charge of nonrevenue sports. Dull said he also sat in on some of the interviews.
"The interviewing is finished," Dull said. "I'm collecting data, then writing a report. I'm attempting to go through all of those interviews , make conclusions based on the testimony -- both pro and con -- we received and communicate them to Dr. Slaughter."
Dull declined to comment on the specifics of questions asked during the interviews, but one player said they dealt with drug use, shoplifting and with reports of homosexual relationships. Weller held team meetings during the season to discuss all three issues.
Weller, one of the most successful coaches in women's basketball, has characterized Welsh's allegations as "a vicious personal attack by a couple of people unhappy with decisions I made early in the season."
Welsh was the high school guidance counselor of Sydney Beasley, who was considered Maryland's best player going into this past season but left the team before the season started after a series of run-ins with Weller. She subsequently transferred to James Madison University.
"If Sydney hadn't left the program, I never would have written the letters," Welsh said Sunday after returning from a European vacation, "but I didn't write them because of any vendetta. It was because of what I felt was a conflict while she was still in the program. It didn't start with Sydney. At the beginning of the year, there were lots of other things that were going on.
"I've come out to look like the bad guy, not that I can't handle that. But these problems are not mine. What I was saying to the university was, 'Hey, you need to take a look at it.' "
Welsh said she had presented her concerns to Weller on an informal basis at social functions. "Nothing happened," she said. When Beasley left the team in mid-November, Welsh said she and Beasley met with Lane.
"Neither of us had anything to lose," Welsh said. "I presented some concerns to Gothard Lane. I told him. 'It doesn't have anything to do with Sydney Beasley, but I want you to note these concerns.' He said, 'They are so noted.' . . . Gothard told Chris Weller my concerns, and nothing happened."
It was then that Welsh wrote first to Dull and then to Slaughter. She denied that she wrote any letters to the NCAA.
"I sent it the first letter within the hierarchy, which is the way we do things in education," said Welsh, who is a guidance counselor at Potomac High School and teaches psychology in Maryland's University College.
"I feel I did the right thing," she said. "I told Chris and I told her superior, and when nothing was done, I told his superior."
Sysma said yesterday he gave his resignation to Weller last week.
"It was just a gut feeling it was the right thing to do," he said. "I felt uncomfortable in my position, working for Coach Weller and being a friend of Dr. Welsh's."
Sysma said he resigned "to simplify things for the program so there was one less person that Coach would need to worry about in regard to the current situation . . . It's one less problem so she can get onto more substantial problems."
In other developments:
*Chris Vera, who has one more year of eligibility remaining, said she would not return next season. But she said the current review has nothing to do with it. "I'm eager to finish school and start some things in the work field," she said. Vera said she plans to graduate in August and likely will become an assistant coach at Blair High School, her alma mater.
*Mary Lucas, president of the Rebounders, said that Welsh, vice president of the boosters club, was acting strictly on her own and without the permission of the club's executive committee in making her allegations.