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No formal athlete code instituted

The Department of Athletics has decided not to release a formal code of conduct for Duke's 600-plus student athletes, as was originally announced June 5.

Instead, it plans to reinforce the values already in place and strengthen rules and regulations set forth in the student-athlete handbook, Director of Athletics Joe Alleva told The Chronicle.

When President Richard Brodhead reinstated the men's lacrosse team in June, the program returned under its own code of conduct, which includes specific penalties for a list of potential infractions.

At the time, Alleva said his department--in concert with the coaches and student athletes--would draft an over-arching code for all teams to be distributed early in the fall.

Alleva emphasized there was not a fundamental shift in the values the Department of Athletics seeks to achieve but instead a change in the manner in which they will be delivered to the student athletes.

"We're not doing a code of conduct," Alleva said. "We've always had a student-athlete handbook that has rules and regulations in it, and we've updated the handbook to put more meat into it and more detail to it."

Although there will be no formal release of a new code as was originally planned, both Alleva and John Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, said it was simply a matter of semantics and the University had not changed its attitude toward enforcing the values of Duke athletics.

"There's no fundamental difference," Burness said. "Instead of a 'code of conduct' we just came up with the idea of updating the handbook. We're just not using that term."

The revised handbooks, which were distributed to student athletes this week, include a page entitled "Departmental standards of behavior."

Similar to the policy the men's lacrosse team adopted, all student athletes are now required to self report all off-campus infractions to their respective head coach within 48 hours.

The distribution of the handbooks was sandwiched between two events for all student athletes and coaches. Last week, the athletic community gathered for a picnic at Jack Coombs Field to better integrate the University's 600 athletes and coaches, Alleva said.

Monday night, all student athletes will assemble in Cameron Indoor Stadium for an event Alleva and his staff have organized to highlight a series of values they wish Duke Athletics to represent.

"There are nine words we've identified working with our coaches and student athletes that embody the values of Duke Athletics," Alleva said. "We're going to incorporate that into what we do with our student athletes and have them sign off on those values and words."

The ongoing changes, while minor in many respects, come in the wake of one of the most trying times in the University's and the Department of Athletics' history.

Following the controversy surrounding the men's lacrosse team, some charged that Duke should de-emphasize athletics. In addition, several summer incidents involving people close to Duke Athletics--including the DUI arrests of J.J. Redick, men's lacrosse player Matt Wilson and J.D. Alleva, Trinity '01, Joe Alleva's son-brought more negative attention.

Brodhead reaffirmed Duke's commitment to top-notch athletics when he reinstated the men's lacrosse program, saying he believed Duke could be both a top academic and athletic institution.

Since then, the Department of Athletics has taken steps to improve inside and outside. It has changed its program to instill values in student athletes, as evidenced by events such as the one next Monday, and has plans to improve the image of the athletics program in the community.

"We're not going to go out there and take out ads and say all the good things we do, but we want people to know," Alleva said. "We have so many outstanding student athletes that are outstanding not only on the playing field and in the classroom but also in the community."

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