Five lacrosse players on the University of Maryland, Baltimore County women's team have been suspended after they allegedly sent text messages threatening to kill their freshmen teammates.
Sixteen pages of screenshots showing the text messages were sent to the Baltimore Post Examiner, which included ones saying "can we just kill them?" and "kill the freshman."
Another message said that during practice, the sender would be "aiming for her [teammate's] shins."
"They were extreme threats of violence. There were texts of variety of wanting to kill certain people," said Bryan Renbaum, a reporter with the Baltimore Post Examiner who obtained the text messages. "It was ugly."
A player who saw the texts turned them over to coaches, who then alerted school authorities, according to Renbaum.
"The texts were sent to me by concerned parties who ... were worried that the school did not take sufficient action to protect the players," he said.
Mackenzie Reese, Alyssa Semones, Amber Kovalick, Meghan Milani and Brittany Marquess have since been suspended, UMBC athletic director Tim Hall said Monday.
The players have missed two games so far -- last Wednesday against Drexel and Saturday against Manhattan -- but were allowed on the sidelines to cheer.
"The allegations from the sources I received were that they cheered when several of the freshman players fumbled or were injured," said Renbaum.
Four of the five players apologized in a statement issued on their behalf, saying, "Words cannot express our sense of regret and disappointment in ourselves … we have been, and continue to be, focused on working privately with university leadership to move forward. Our goal is to humbly work through this difficult situation."
The university said in a statement: "The UMBC community highly values civility and respect, and we take this matter very seriously." The team has since practiced without contact drills.
"It isn't who UMBC is at all and certainly is disappointing," said Hall.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.