by Geoff Rushton
Update: Ryan Cornell was released from the Penn State rugby team, an athletic department spokesperson confirmed.
A Penn State rugby player reportedly admitted that he bought alcohol for three high school students who were in town for the university’s winter rugby clinic last weekend.
According to a criminal complaint, State College Police detectives were conducting surveillance at about 8 p.m. on Friday when they observed a man, later identified as Ryan S. Cornell, leave Beer Belly’s distributor with three cases of beer and place them in a vehicle. He then went into the Fine Wine and Good Spirits store and came back out with a bag believed to contain alcohol.
Police were conducting the surveillance as part of the Alcohol Source Investigation Project (SIP) aimed at off-campus drinking parties.
Cornell got in the passenger side of the vehicle and police followed it to North Gill Street, where Cornell exited with only one case of beer and the bag from the liquor store, according to the complaint.
After Cornell exited the vehicle, the driver started to drive away and police initiated a stop. The driver, a 19-year-old Penn State rugby player and counselor for the team’s winter clinic, said he and the other three people still in the vehicle were under 21 and that there were two cases of beer in the back, police said.
The driver reportedly said Cornell purchased the two cases of beer for them and had bought one case of beer and a bottle of liquor for himself.
Police then went back to Cornell’s residence where he immediately confessed to buying the two cases of beer for the four minors in the car after they gave him money to purchase it, according to the complaint.
The other three minors in the vehicle were each 17-years-old and had come to University Park for the winter rugby clinic taking place on Saturday and Sunday, police said.
Cornell, a junior lock on the rugby team, was charged with four counts of furnishing alcohol to minors and four liquor code violations. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 21.
An athletic department spokesman said Cornell was dismissed from the team.
“Ryan Cornell has been released from the men’s rugby team due to a violation of team rules,” the spokesman said.