More reporting on the situation - and some reporting from inside the team via unnamed sources.
Senior Shamel Bratton, a two-time first-team all-American midfielder, has been dismissed from the Virginia men’s lacrosse team, the school announced Friday afternoon.
“I want to wish Shamel the very best in his future endeavors,” Coach Dom Starsia said in a statement. “He has made many contributions to the program. At the same time, there are standards of behavior within the framework of the team that we expect to be met by all of our student-athletes. Failure to do so on a consistent basis has resulted in the loss of the privilege of being a member of this team.”
According to numerous individuals in the lacrosse community and people who are close to the Virginia men’s lacrosse program, the Cavaliers’ players on Wednesday voted to dismiss Bratton for a third violation of team rules this spring and to indefinitely suspend his twin brother, senior Rhamel Bratton, for a second violation.
The individuals requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak openly about team matters.
The twin brothers missed practice on Monday to attend the funeral of the mother of Maryland lacrosse player Ryan Young on Long Island. That missed practice was excused, and at least two other Virginia players were at the funeral, including senior starting goalie Adam Ghitelman and his brother Jacob, according to someone who attended.
The Ghitelmans were back for practice on Tuesday, according to an individual close to the program. Shamel and Rhamel Bratton were not. Starsia confirmed that Rhamel Bratton is suspended for Saturday’s game and “will be reinstated at a later date.”
Shamel Bratton served two one-game suspensions this season. He missed an 11-10 win over Stony Brook on Feb. 26 and a 12-7 loss to Maryland on April 2. Rhamel Bratton also missed the Stony Brook game for a violation of team rules.
According to individuals with knowledge of the situation, the Brattons were suspended for the Stony Brook game because they violated the team’s alcohol policy, which is established by the players.
In February, senior defenseman Bray Malphrus called the policy, which was newly crafted for the current season, "the strictest, most stringent rule since I've been here."
"And that's by design," he added.
After the May 2010 death of Virginia women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love, it was revealed that eight Virginia men’s lacrosse players — including George Huguely, who was indicted April 18 on murder charges in connection with Love’s death — had been arrested for alcohol-related incidents (two were found not guilty).
According to individuals with knowledge of the situation, the Brattons made it well known they never intended to follow the alcohol policy and that they tried to get other players to vote to change the policy, but were unsuccessful.
The same sources also said the Brattons traveled to Stony Brook — which is about a 40-minute drive from their home town of Huntington Station, N.Y. — with their gear and offered to play despite their suspensions. After the Brattons’ older brother learned they would be held out of the game, he confronted Starsia, sources said.
Shamel Bratton has 20 goals — ranking fourth on the team — and eight assists for the Cavaliers (8-5) this year; Rhamel has 17 goals — fifth on the team — and five assists.
The Cavaliers close the regular season on Saturday afternoon against Pennsylvania in Charlottesville. They are expected to receive an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament, which begins May 14.