Two of the three University of Richmond baseball players who were convicted of petty larceny and trespassing charges stemming from thefts last spring in Gray Court are no longer enrolled at Richmond.
“The University of Richmond follows clear, established policies in determining academic and athletic eligibility,” the athletic department said in a statement. “In situations involving student-athletes, the athletic department collaborates with the appropriate dean’s office… Respecting federal privacy laws regarding student records, the university cannot comment further.”
Andrew Lowry of Burke, Va., and Blake Geiger of Baltimore are no longer attending Richmond. Lowry, an outfielder, started 11 games for the Spiders in 2010 and batted .340, third best on the team. Geiger, a freshman pitcher, had yet to play.
The third player involved, sophomore Jacob Mayers from Mechanicsville, Va., was reinstated as a student-athlete during the fall of 2010. He declined to comment. Mayers, a pitcher and first baseman for the Spiders, was the No. 1-rated prep player in Virginia by VirginiaPreps.com in 2009. At Hanover High School, he was voted the State, Regional and District Player of the Year.
The thefts occurred on March 8, 2010, in rooms 206 and 211 of Gray Court. The items stolen included a pair of Bose computer speakers, eight Xbox games, three speakers and a subwoofer, one Xbox and two controllers. With the original charges, all three players were suspended indefinitely. They were sentenced to 12 months in jail, but Judge Phillip Hairston suspended their sentences. Each player had to pay $623.75 in restitution charges.
“Myself and my fellow teammates who were involved in the incident are obviously well aware that what we did was reprehensible and wrong,” Lowry wrote in an e-mail yesterday. “However, I can speak for myself in saying that what I did was not an act of maliciousness or greed, which is how it was characterized in court and in the media.”
He continued to describe his time at Richmond, as well as his mindset at the time of the thefts.
“My time at Richmond was very unpleasant,” he wrote, “and I came to develop a strong disdain for my fellow peers. From what I observed on a day-to-day basis (and I have lived many places and been a part of many cultures, since I was raised in a military family) I felt that we lived in a bubble of privilege and greed and a sole desire for personal wealth and accomplishment. On top of other difficulties I was having in my life, this deep-seeded disdain made me feel as if I wasn’t doing anything wrong by taking from people who I felt had backward values.
“My immature and drunken acts were obviously not the right solution, and perhaps were driven by some of my own insecurities.”
Lowry also said that he tried to return the stolen property.
“A couple days after the incident, I attempted to return what I had taken but could not remember where it had come from (due to the fact that I had been inebriated),” Lowry wrote.
He wrote that this is how the police were able to recover the stolen items, which were turned in before the players turned themselves in.
“Suspecting that baseball players were involved, the police basically told the athletic department (or at least my head coach) that if we … came forth, made amends and explained what had happened that the situation would be kept in-house and that charges would not be pressed.”
Despite his difficulties, Lowry praised the dean’s office for its support.
“Those around me within the school were very supportive,” he wrote, “my teachers and administrators in particular. The Deans, particularly Dean [Dan] Fabian and Dean [Patrick] Benner, could not have done more to be objective and understanding about the situation, despite the negative press. What I learned was that the members of the Dean’s office truly do have personal concern for each and every one of the students at Richmond, and do not simply see the black and white of issues.”
Some of Lowry’s teammates and others associated with the university wrote letters to Hairston in support of Lowry.
Second baseman Derek Boliek, a junior, said in a letter that Lowry had “great character” and was a “helpful friend.”
Junior Adam McConnell, shortstop, said in a letter: “It is evident there were poor decisions made involving alcohol. … [Lowry] apologized to the entire team in the locker room the day after it happened before anyone even knew about it.”
Ryan Wheeler, assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator for the University of Richmond and Daniel Fabian, associate dean of Richmond College, also wrote letters on behalf of Lowry.
Mark McQueen, head baseball coach for Richmond, could not be reached for comment.
Contact staff writer Zak Kozuchowski at firstname.lastname@example.org