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North Carolina State has dismissed two freshman football players and suspended three others following an on campus party involving alcohol and drug use that led to three sexual assault allegations.
An investigation has determined that the five football players, who were on campus attending summer school, were involved with a July 21 party in which alcohol and drug use was present.
Three alleged sexual assault complaints were lodged following the party. The N.C. State University Police has turned over evidence from its investigation to the Wake County District Attorney’s Office.
Antoine Thompson and Kevince Brown were dismissed from the program Tuesday while Isaiah Moore, Erin Collins and Xavier Lyas were suspended indefinitely according to a statement released by the athletic department. All were freshmen.
Thompson and Brown are no longer enrolled at N.C. State.
“We have a locker room full of young men committed to representing our University with integrity and respect, and have created a strong culture for N.C. State Football through our leadership program,” N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren said in the statement. “We had five freshmen, two of whom have been dismissed, who made poor decisions that don’t align with the values of our program and each has been handled accordingly.
“Although I’ve disciplined these players for violations of the Student Athlete Code of Conduct, I want to make it clear that I respect due process in the University and legal proceedings. Our players understand that I’m going be firm, but fair when it comes to discipline.”
The University Police held a press conference Tuesday.
“On Aug. 8, we forwarded the drug and alcohol part to the University’s Title IX investigation,” NC State University Police Chief Jack Moorman said. “We’re looking at is there a probable cause to make criminal charges in the case, what can we make an arrest on, issue a citation on, or bring someone into the criminal justice system.”
“Should any student-athlete be charged with sexual misconduct by legal authorities, he will immediately be suspended from the team,” N.C. State Director of Athletics Debbie Yow said in a statement. “That said, it is extremely important to respect due process for the student-athletes.
“To be clear, the actions taken by athletics are separate from any that might be imposed by the University or legal authorities. We fully support those processes.”
N.C. State knows there are some lofty expectations for the 2017 season. The Wolfpack wants to win each day before they turn their attention towards emerging victorious in the games.
“We don’t worry about the outside,” Reggie Gallaspy II said. “We stare ahead, keep our heads down and work. We just continue doing what we do.”
This is not to say that the Wolfpack feels this will be an average campaign.
There is some speculation N.C. State could not only improve on its 7-6 record from 2016 but perhaps break through into the top of the loaded Atlantic Division, where three schools -- defending national champion Clemson, Florida State and Louisville -- are jostling for the right to play for the ACC title in December.
While the focus is only just beginning on the Sept. 2 season opener versus South Carolina, the Pack does have high hopes.
“We want to do the best we can do,” redshirt-junior quarterback Ryan Finley said. “Obviously, we want to improve on last season. We have high expectations for ourselves.”
The defense boasts at least six projected senior starters, including the entire defensive line.
The front four, which consists of players who have started for most of or for their entire college careers, is also brimming with confidence
This will be a special N.C. State team,” senior defensive end Kentavius Street said. “We just can’t wait. It is great to be back out on the field. The sky is the limit for us.”
The Wolfpack also enjoys the process.
The journey towards the regular season has entered game preparation mode. While it is also a function of the ‘win the day’ attitude that has engulfed the team, there is a sense of joy in preparing for competition.
“We are really excited,” Finley said. “That is the part I really like. Just really dialing in on other teams, game planning and getting into the details of specific teams. That is really exciting for me.
“It is a different kind of preparation. Football is a 365-day sport. Throughout the offseason you function on yourself and what you can improve on personally. When you get into game planning, that is when you start dialing up the defense and really searching for ways to execute well.”
Rob McLamb of Inside Pack Sports has covered N.C. State athletics and recruiting since 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @RobMcLamb.