ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A gathering Saturday at Sand Beach that included members of the University of Maine football team resulted in four players being charged with alcohol violations, according to national park rangers.
Ranger Richard Rechholtz said three people were charged with underage drinking after being seen drinking beers on the beach. Daniel Collins, the projected starting quarterback, and Benjamin Davis, both of New Jersey, and Sean Reuss of New York — all of whom are 20 years old — each were issued written violation notices for underage drinking, Rechholtz said.
Rangers also say Matthew Wilson, 21, of New York told them that a cooler on the beach and the beer in it belonged to him. He was issued a written notice for possessing alcohol in an area of the park where alcohol is not allowed, according to Rechholtz.
Sand Beach is one of many areas in the park where people are not allowed to possess or consume alcohol.
Pontbriand said a fifth man was handcuffed and given a warning after he became agitated when rangers approached the group about the alcohol violations. After rangers took him aside, he calmed down and the handcuffs were removed. Pontbriand declined to identify this person because he was not charged with any violations.
University of Maine football coach Jack Cosgrove said Wednesday that he was disappointed by the incident and that his players self-reported it to him.
Cosgrove said that the players now will be under the scrutiny of the university’s student-athlete code of conduct and will be disciplined accordingly.
“It’s black-and-white. If you do this, here is what happens [for punishment],” said Cosgrove. “The process is already in play.”
The UMaine student-athlete code of conduct could not be found online and what the punishment might be could not be determined Wednesday evening.
Cosgrove indicated that he also may impose additional punishment if he feels it is warranted.
The Black Bear football team begins workouts on Aug. 3.
The incident happened around 2 p.m. Saturday when approximately 40 people gathered at the popular beach. Some people in the group were shotgunning beers, rangers said, after carrying a football-shaped cooler full of beer down to the beach — past a prominent sign that says alcohol is not permitted.
“There’s a giant sign right there at the top of the stairs” to the beach, Supervisory Ranger Ed Pontbriand said Wednesday.
The rangers said the four men who received notices carried the football cooler back up to one of their vehicles in the parking lot after they were told to do so, but that the group hung out at the beach for another half an hour or so after the citations were issued.
Each of the four men who were charged with violations has been scheduled to appear in federal court in Bangor on Sept. 16 but can avoid having to appear in court by mailing in fine payments to federal officials before the court date, the rangers said.
Alcohol consumption and possession of open containers is allowed in the park in most areas, but not at Sand Beach, according to information posted on the park’s website. Alcohol is not allowed at public buildings or facilities with the exception of the Jordan Pond House restaurant and its nearby staff housing, nor is it permitted in parking lots, vehicle pullouts, or at Echo Lake Beach, Lake Wood, or specific locations along the southeast shore of Long Pond.
Being under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances anywhere in the park is illegal, as is possession of alcohol by anyone under 21 years of age, the park’s website indicates.
Three of the four players saw playing time a year ago.
Collins, who is a redshirt sophomore, is the heir apparent at quarterback, replacing graduated Marcus Wasilewski, who was an All-Colonial Athletic Association selection last season.
Collins appeared in two games last season and completed four of six passes for 35 yards.
Wilson, a senior defensive lineman, appeared in all 13 games and had six solo tackles while assisting on 22 others. Being involved in 28 tackles tied him for 12th-best on the team in that category.
Reuss is a sophomore tight end who appeared in 12 games while Davis is a redshirt freshman linebacker who didn’t appear in any games.
BDN sportswriter Larry Mahoney contributed to this report.
An earlier version of this story contained inaccurate information. Matthew Wilson told rangers that a cooler and the beer inside of it was his but was not seen drinking beer on the beach, according to park rangers.