September 26, 2014



Providence, R.I.-As a result of several parties during the first week of the semester, which involved students and student-athletes from several Providence area colleges and universities, Rhode Island College will shut down its intercollegiate athletic program from Saturday evening Oct. 4 through Tuesday afternoon Oct. 7.  There will be no intercollegiate athletic activities allowed during this period (i.e., practices, study hall, training room, etc.). 


Rhode Island College Director of Athletics Don Tencher hopes that this period of time will provide student-athletes with the opportunity to think about the consequences involved with alcohol use, as well as the responsibilities student-athletes have on campus in relationship to leadership and excellence. 


“We pride ourselves on striving for excellence in everything we do in this program,” Tencher said. “We are campus leaders. The activities that involved alcohol which happened during the first week of the semester were some of the poorest displays of leadership that I have experienced in my 30-year career.”


“The big message here is that there is no room for alcohol in our program. We work everyday to build champions and it will not be tolerated.”


Part of the intercollegiate athletic hiatus will include two mandatory educational programs on Sunday and Monday evening. The first session will be led by Colonel Steve O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, and Gabrielle Abbate, Executive Director of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (RI), and will focus strictly on the consequences involved with the use of alcohol and the responsibility of drinking.


The second session will focus on the qualities of leadership and will feature several prominent speakers. Leading the way will be former RIC student-athlete Colonel Steve Lynch ‘82, a RIC Athletic Hall of Fame soccer student-athlete, retired major in the R.I. State Police and now the Chief of Police for the town of Burrillville. In addition, former RIC baseball student-athlete Keith Croft ‘01, now a school administrator and one of the state’s most successful football coaches, and Tom Mezzanotte, Executive Director of the R.I. Interscholastic League, a former student-athlete, coach  and school administrator, will also speak.


“Everyone at RIC knows the incredible respect I have for this entire group of presenters,” Tencher said. “Especially for Colonel O’Donnell to give up part of his weekend to discuss this serious issue. I think it sends a strong message and I am deeply indebted to them all. “


Associate Athletic Director and Director of Compliance Jo-Ann D’Alessandro hopes that this time away from intercollegiate athletics will provide student-athletes with some time to think seriously about the many ramifications that arise from alcohol consumption, the least of which is poor athletic performance.  “Don and I speak to every single student-athlete about the fact that you cannot live up to the expectations of being a role model and a RIC student-athlete if you are drinking. Hopefully, this will send a strong message.”