A little bit of normalcy amidst an extraordinary week, Virginia Athletics Director Craig Littlepage announced tonight in a prepared statement that both the men's and women's lacrosse teams will be continuing to represent the University of Virginia as they always have, and that the teams will be honoring Yeardley Love by continuing their seasons. The men's team is and has been for most of the season ranked No. 1 in the country, while the women's team is currently ranked No. 4.
I am elated that the teams have chosen to play on and show the VIRGINIA FIGHT we all knew existed in them. To me this is a sign that the players, though certainly still mourning, are pushing forward and showing the mental toughness that got them to where they are to begin with. I have never in my life wanted two national championships than I do at this very moment right here.
Below is Craig Littlepage's full statement:
The loss of any young person is tragic. When that young person has the talent, personality, and potential of someone like Yeardley Love, the loss goes much deeper.
Yesterday President Casteen wrote a moving message about Yeardley to the University community. His thoughts were presented eloquently and powerfully, summarizing the uniquely talented student that Yeardley Love was. In comments made by her teammates and friends, Yeardley was described as an "angel" and the type of person who would light up any room. She was a dedicated student-athlete and a natural leader.
We are all heartbroken that we will not see the full potential that this wonderful young woman would have brought to our lives and to our community. Our primary focus now will be on Yeardley's family and the young women and young men on our lacrosse teams.
The students are under tremendous stress and have experienced a huge loss. Our students' welfare will be continually observed over the coming days and weeks so that we are poised to ensure they are healing and coping as best as can be expected. Beginning with the early morning hours on Monday, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Dean of Students, and Counseling and Psychological Services deployed staff to assist our lacrosse student-athletes.
A part of their healing will be getting our students back into some of their routines. In the case of the women's and men's programs, our lacrosse teams will honor Yeardley by continuing their seasons. We anticipate both teams will be selected for the NCAA Tournaments and they will represent the University of Virginia as they always have.
In the past 24 hours numerous individuals throughout college athletics and higher education have expressed their concern and support for the University of Virginia. Their thoughtful words are appreciated at this difficult time.
I am proud of the dignified way in which our students and coaches have responded to such a traumatic situation. The parents of our students also have my appreciation for the way in which they mobilized, and joined us as plans were put together to assist the teams. Finally, it is comforting to see how the University community has rallied in support of all who have been touched by Yeardley's life and her passing.
-- Craig Littlepage, Virginia Director of Athletics