Though the Hopkins Men’s Lacrosse team was down an attackman and a defenseman, it secured a victory against Michigan 17-8 in the game on Feb. 23.
The two suspended players, sophomores Robert Enright and Wells Stanwick, were the first two players of several that will be benched on a rotating basis over the course of the season due to an undisclosed violation of the team’s rules.
Head Coach David Pietramala explained his role in the choice to sit team members.
“It was my decision to sit them in the game and I will be choosing when I sit them,” he said. “Those who did not adhere to our rule will be the players sitting.”
Both Enright and Stanwick were allowed to play in Hopkins’s game against Princeton last Friday, while other players were benched. The game ended with Hopkins’s first loss of the season so far and a victory for Princeton, 11-8.
Because the violation was in discord with the team’s rule and not a larger organization regulating the college sport, the team’s coaching staff made its own judgments when determining how it would proceed.
Pietramala, a man who has received recognition for his skills as a player and success as a coach, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1990 after serving the team as one of its most valuable defensemen.
“We don’t belong to a conference and we’ve been independent for many, many years,” he said. “We were independent when I played for Hopkins.”
Since the team is able to govern itself internally, the team can sit a few players for each game throughout the remainder of the season instead of sitting every member of the team who violated its rules at once.
“Not the whole team was part of the violation,” Pietramala said.
Still, the large number of members that would sit if all guilty players sat at once would mean a likely loss for Hopkins and therefore, a tainted season.
Though the media is notified which members of the team are restricted from playing before each game, the team has kept the issue of violation within itself and is disclosing minimal information.
“It was a violation of our team policy, which is between our team and that’s it,” Pietramala said.
Ernie Larossa, Associate Director of Athletics and Director of Athletic Communications for Hopkins, described his role in dealing with the issue as a liaison between the team and the media.
“[Pietramala] and our director of athletics made me aware since I’m the one relaying information,” Larossa said. “He gives me the names of the kids that wouldn’t be playing and tells me a day or two in advance, but I’m only told based on when I need to provide to the media.”
Larossa expanded on his limited involvement, clarifying that Pietramala truly has the ultimate power in making these very visible decisions.
“I don’t know when or how he decides which kids to sit and I’m not really part of that process,” Larossa said. “[Pietramala] doesn’t report to me.”
Still, Larossa’s crucial role in dealing with the press necessitates a certain amount of knowledge regarding the recent proceedings.
“Because its very public and we play all our games on T.V., I was aware of the decision that [Pietramala] made and he consulted with our director of athletics,” he said. “The team policies are what they are and those guys had set them.”
The undisclosed violation has been diligently contained within the University’s Athletic Center and not even fellow students are aware of what provoked the ensuing suspensions.
Despite the consequences of this snubbing of team rules, Pietramala believes his players will learn from the experience and feels an obligation to help them grow from it.
“I don’t look at it as a setback,” he said. “Every team has their issues and our job as coaches is to help these young men grow, more than just as students or as players.”
He also noted that his interests lie directly in line with those of the members of his team.
“Our decisions are directly tied to [helping the players grow],” he said. “We’ve made a decision and we deal with it and now we move on and move forward.”
The coach in his thirteenth season is already looking toward the future with the men’s lacrosse team win this past Tuesday evening over Mount St. Mary’s, 19-9.