William and Mary athletes caught stealing

Surveillance footage captured the men stealing ESPN and NCAA banners.

Eight male athletes from the College of William and Mary were caught on video entering the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion at around 1 a.m. Saturday and stealing several banners, valued at $1,000 each, a police report stated. There was no sign the athletes broke into the building, which meant the door was probably unlocked, University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said. The athletes were identified as being from William and Mary, a school in Williamsburg, Va., by a Minnesota gymnast who viewed the footage, according to the report. The men returned the banners after police found them at BrueggerâÄôs Bagels with the help of their coach. The University used the banners to cover advertisements that couldnâÄôt be shown during the championship under NCAA rules. Two of the banners displayed large ESPN logos, while two displayed NCAA logos and were owned by the University, associate athletics director Marc Ryan said. The University didnâÄôt pursue criminal charges against the students, but they were told NCAA misconduct charges would be requested, the police report stated. The athletes could have faced charges for trespassing, theft or possibly burglary, Miner said. Ryan made the decision not to pursue charges after speaking with facilities staff and an NCAA liaison at the championships. âÄú[The athletes] brought the banners back, they werenâÄôt damaged and they seemed remorseful,âÄù Ryan said. âÄúI felt that they had already learned their lesson.âÄù University police also informed the athletes the report of the incident would be forwarded to the William and Mary Office of Student Affairs. The college is trying to hand down discipline quickly so graduating seniors will receive punishment before their semester ends May 13, William and Mary Athletics Director Terry Driscoll said. The athletes will have team privileges âÄúmost valued by seniorsâÄù revoked and will be required to complete community service before the semester ends, Driscoll said. âÄúOnce they graduate, we donâÄôt have any control over them,âÄù he said. âÄúThatâÄôs why we have to do something pretty quickly.âÄù Driscoll wouldnâÄôt be more specific on potential punishments. The NCAA will review the disciplinary actions given by the athletics department and decide whether additional action should be taken, Driscoll said. William and Mary Assistant Athletics Director Pete Clawson said the incident did not reflect well on the college. âÄú[The issue] will be addressed in a meaningful way,âÄù Clawson said. âÄúThis is not how we want to portray ourselves.âÄù William and Mary is one of eight âÄúpublic ivy leagueâÄù schools in the United States and has an undergraduate enrollment of 5,700 students.