PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) â€” Providence College on Wednesday expelled three basketball players and barred a fourth from varsity sports for a year as punishment for an off-campus fight with other students last month.
Three other players were placed on personal probation for two years, meaning they may attend classes and participate in extracurricular activities, but can be immediately suspended for any subsequent violation of student standards of conduct.
``We take this extraordinarily seriously,'' said the Rev. Philip A. Smith, the college president. ``It is an extremely painful thing to have to carry out these types of sanctions and an extremely difficult tragedy to have an incident of assault where three other students are hurt.''
A six-member disciplinary committee had previously imposed punishments against the seven students, and dropped charges against an eighth. Smith and the college's vice president for student services upheld all sanctions Wednesday, and there is no further possibility of appeal.
Providence will not release the names of the students, nor will they say how many had appealed their punishments. Appeals were automatic for those punished by suspension or dismissal.
Four of the players have been charged by police in the April 10 fight. Investigators have said the basketball players went to the apartment of Thomas Cook, a Providence senior and a bouncer at a local bar, to confront him after Cook removed center David Murray from the bar days earlier.
Murray and two other players â€” guard Donta Wade and forward center Llewellyn Cole â€” punched and kicked Cook, police said.
Wade was also charged with hitting Cook's roommate Mark Hogan, another Providence student.
A fourth player, Jamaal Camah, was charged with punching student Ryan Kerwin, who lives at the house.
Wade was charged with two felony assault counts. Cole and Murray were charged with one count each of felony assault. All three were charged with conspiracy and assault with a dangerous weapon because police said they wore shoes when they kicked Cook.
Camah is charged with misdemeanor assault.
Attorneys for the players have said their clients will be cleared when more details are revealed, but have not offered specifics.
The loss of the players comes after a losing season and declining attendance at Providence games.
Smith said he plans to sit down with Providence coach Tim Welsh and others involved in the basketball program to determine what can be done to get it back on track.
``Right now it will present a difficulty for the coach, but I believe the future of the program will be bright,'' Smith said. ``I believe Tim Welsh will be able to get the program going again and we will be competitive in the Big East Conference.''