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'I cannot return'
Seligmann leaving Duke, will play lacrosse for Brown
Posted: Wednesday May 30, 2007 1:14AM; Updated: Wednesday May 30, 2007 1:14AM

Reade Seligmann spent the last year out of college, volunteering as an assistant lacrosse coach at his former high school in New Jersey.
Reade Seligmann spent the last year out of college, volunteering as an assistant lacrosse coach at his former high school in New Jersey.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Former Duke lacrosse player Reade Seligmann, cleared of rape charges after being sidelined from the sport for more than a year, will transfer to the Ivy League to play for Brown University.

"I am looking forward to just being a student again," Seligmann said in a written statement provided to The Associated Press by his attorney, Jim Cooney. Seligmann said he appreciated the loyalty of his Duke teammates and coaches during the past year, but was moving on with Brown.

"I know that they will understand why I cannot return to Duke," he said.

Brown confirmed in a brief statement that Seligmann was expected on campus this fall. Lacrosse coach Lars Tiffany declined to comment.

Seligmann will be eligible to play for the Bears starting next spring, Cooney said.

Seligmann and fellow players Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans were indicted last spring on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense, after a woman told police she was attacked by three men at a March 2006 team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper.

The season was canceled, and Seligmann and Finnerty, both sophomores, were suspended. Evans graduated the day before he was indicted.

But the case began to unravel as the woman changed key parts of her story. The rape charges were dropped in December, and Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong stepped aside from the case the following month amid charges he breached professional ethics.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper last month declared the trio innocent and said they were the victims of a "tragic rush to accuse."

Seligmann and Finnerty were invited back to Duke once it became clear the case against them had no merit. Finnerty remains undecided on where he will attend school this fall, but told the AP Monday he hoped to decide soon.

Seligmann spent the last year out of college, volunteering as an assistant lacrosse coach at Delbarton School, the Roman Catholic all-boys high school in Morristown, N.J., where he graduated in 2004.

During that time, Seligmann generated interest from coaches at several upper-echelon schools, said Cooney and former Duke coach Mike Pressler. Coaches familiar with Seligmann describe him as a talented athlete and good student who would fit in well in the Ivy League.

"Reade's a good kid, bright," said Penn coach Brian Voelker, who spoke with Seligmann after the allegations surfaced, but did not have a roster spot available. "I wish him the best of luck."

Recent Brown graduate Heather Peterson, of Weston, Mass., said she had mixed feelings about Seligmann becoming a Brown student.

"To accept someone who's had such a scandal in connection to their name, who's basically probably coming for athletics, seems sort of strange to me," she said, despite believing he deserves no punishment because he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Her sister, Brown staff member Gretchen Peterson, said she was proud Seligmann selected Brown.

"I hope that that is reflective of our openness to accept people based on fact and not based on conjecture or how things get spun in the media," she said.

Seligmann's announcement came a day after Duke lost to Johns Hopkins 12-11 in the NCAA championship game in Baltimore.

Pressler, who was forced to resign following the allegations and recently completed his first season as head coach at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I. -- about 10 miles from Providence -- said he thought Seligmann and Brown were a "perfect" match.

"Wherever Reade went, he deserved a school of a similar academic reputation," Pressler said late Tuesday. "Duke and the Ivies are certainly very similar."

Pressler is releasing a book June 12 about the case, entitled: It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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