A junior on Penn State’s men’s rugby team confessed to purchasing beer for high school students who were visiting to participate in the university’s rugby clinic, according to State College police.
While conducting surveillance at Hamilton Square Shopping Center on Feb. 16, police reportedly observed Ryan Cornell, 21, carry three cases of beer from Beer Belly’s Distributor, put them in a vehicle and made a purchase from Fine Wine & Good Spirits. .
After the vehicle left the shopping plaza, police followed it to the 100 block of North Gill Street, where Cornell exited the vehicle with one case of beer and the bag from the liquor store.
Police stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver, who informed police that everyone in the vehicle was under 21 years old. The driver, 19-year-old Noah Smith, was also a member of the Penn State rugby team and a counselor for the winter clinic, which ran from Saturday to Sunday.
Cornell told police the minors gave him $50 to purchase the alcohol. Both Cornell and Smith completed written confessions, according to police.
Cornell faces four misdemeanor charges for furnishing alcohol to minor and four misdemeanors for furnishing alcohol to certain persons.
Penn State Associate Athletic Director Jeff Nelson did not immediately respond to email seeking comment as to whether Cornell is still a member of the team. Cornell is listed on Penn State’s rugby roster as a forestry major from Buckingham.
Prospective participants in the clinic were greeted with a message on Penn State’s website that said, “Those considering sending a child for the first time should know that a camper’s safety and welfare are our top priority and that your child will receive professional instruction from a team of outstanding coaches.”
Two former members of the Penn State rugby team were convicted of setting fire to an athletic equipment shed in 2014 after they became frustrated with their coach.
Cornell’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. March 21.