The Collegian
Thursday, May 19, 2022

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Lacrosse players silenced in wake of promotion

Editors note: Senior Charlie Hudson spoke with The Collegian before the team was asked to not speak to the media.

Yesterday, about three hours before the varsity club lacrosse team had its first practice of the season, Charlie Hudson, a senior player, sat down for an interview about the team's soon-to-be NCAA division I status.

"It was definitely exciting," Hudson said, remembering how the team reacted to the announcement. There's a lot of work to be done to compete at a high level, he said, but the team is ready for the change.

Hudson, who started playing lacrosse in the fourth grade, said that there had been a shift in the culture and expectations surrounding the team since his freshman year. Now, players are expected to lift nearly every day, and practices are becoming more intense. "We're definitely more team-focused now," he said.

Hudson also took a moment to comment on the fact that men's soccer and track were cut in the juggle of funds that allowed lacrosse to change its status. "I have a number of friends who are on the soccer team and run track," he said. "This is something that they've poured their heart and soul into."

But a few hours after Hudson's first practice of the season, he contacted the Collegian saying he was "not supposed to do interviews" regarding news about the team, requesting that the information he offered earlier be withdrawn.

Similarly, Clay Palmer agreed to meet Collegian staff for an interview the day before, then unexpectedly sent reporters an email that said he did not know enough information to take an interview.

When Glenn Carter, the coach of the men's lacrosse team, and Tom Roberts, assistant vice president of recreation and wellness, were contacted and questioned about Hudson and Palmer's sudden change of intention, they declined to comment, saying that any interview questions could be directed to David Walsh, the deputy director of athletics.

The only comment we have from Carter is a few sentences from the auto-reply message on his Richmond email account: "We are excited about the recent announcement that we will be transitioning from Varsity Club to NCAA Division I status. Additional information will be available in the near future."

Walsh responded to the Collegian's request for a phone interview, but agreed to answer only a few questions. "I can only speak to the future of lacrosse," he said, pointing Collegian staff and students to the official announcement on the Richmond athletics website for information.

As for the future of Richmond lacrosse, the first step is to seek a Division I associate membership and begin a national search for a head coach, Walsh said. "The hope for next year is to play an inter-collegiate schedule," he said.

"We think lacrosse has the potential to be successful as an inter-collegiate program."

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When asked why lacrosse players were no longer comfortable making comments to Collegian staff, Walsh did not have an answer.

"I'm not aware of where that originated from," he said.

Contact reporter Katie Branca at katie.branca@richmond.edu

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