A review of the University of Maryland women's basketball program concludes that, although the conduct of two members of the team "did not live up to the expectations this university has for them," Coach Chris Weller handled allegations concerning a small number of team members using drugs and shoplifting "in a timely fashion," Chancellor John B. Slaughter said yesterday.
The names of the two players and the specific nature of their misconduct were not disclosed by Slaughter in a prepared statement that culminated a two-month review. It was ordered after booster Janet Welsh wrote letters to Athletic Director Dick Dull and Slaughter with the allegations.
The two players "will be counseled regarding their future conduct" but Slaughter's statement left unclear who would do the counseling. There was no mention of any disciplinary action against the two players.
Slaughter will not make any more public statements on the issue, said Roz Heibert, a university spokesman.
"Let it the statement sit for itself," Dull said. "This has been talked about enough." Other university officials, including Weller, either were not available for or declined comment. Welsh also declined comment.
Two former assistant coaches, Gabe Romano and June Olkowski, told Weller of their concerns late last summer about reports of shoplifting by two players. One player said in her interview with the athletic department that she and another player were present when two teammates shoplifted from a convenience store near campus.
Sources said three players were sent to drug counseling after they admitted in a team meeting that they smoked marijuana with a recruit in October 1984.
"It is my conclusion that in isolated situations, certain members of our women's basketball team did not live up to the expectations this university has for them as representatives of this institution," Slaughter said. "These activities, on the part of two individuals, were the basis of the allegations that some members of the team were engaged in drug and alcohol abuse, shoplifting and theft."
In yesterday's statement, Slaughter said he had approved recommendations made by Dull, but he did not elaborate.
Three weeks ago Slaughter said he asked Dull "to establish standards of conduct for members of [all] athletic teams and [to have] a clearer delineation of their responsibility as student-athletes and the fact they are representatives of the university."
Slaughter praised Weller, whose 11-season record at College Park is 222-90.
"When incidents of improper conduct were brought to the attention of the athletic department staff, corrective measures were instituted in a timely fashion," Slaughter said in the statement. "I commend, specifically, Coach Christine Weller for her affirmative effort in several of these areas.
"Coach Weller has served the university in the cause of intercollegiate athletics nationally quite well through her tenure as basketball coach. Not only do I find her to be diligent in her concern about team members, but I believe her professional conduct and reputation represent the values for which this university properly stands."
Twenty-six persons were interviewed initially, according to Slaughter's statement. But after Welsh sent the first letter, neither she nor former player Sydney Beasley, who left the team in preseason, was interviewed by the athletic department. Nor were David Sysma, the team's former tutor, or three other former players who sources said played key roles in Welsh's allegations.
Earlier this week, Dull said that after he received Welsh's Dec. 18 letter, Assistant Athletic Director Gothard Lane interviewed her and Beasley, and that Welsh said at the time she "had no direct information" to substantiate her allegations of drug use or shoplifting. Welsh said that interview occurred in November, mainly to discuss Beasley's situation. Beasley since has transferred to James Madison.
Welsh, who also teaches psychology at University College, is a guidance counselor at Potomac High School, where Beasley was All-Met. She also is Beasley's guardian.