ALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Duke University has invited two of the lacrosse players accused of sexual assault to return to school as students in good standing, a defense attorney said Wednesday.
Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann had been barred from attending class during the fall semester while their case made its way through court. The third player charged in the case, Dave Evans, graduated in May, the day before he was charged with raping a stripper at a team party in March.
Rape charges against all three players were dropped last month, after the accuser said she could no longer remember some details about the case. The men are still charged with sexual offense and kidnapping.
"As circumstances have evolved in this extraordinary case, we have attempted to balance recognition of the gravity of legal charges with the presumption of your innocence," Larry Moneta, Duke's vice president for student affairs said in a letter to Seligmann dated Tuesday.
"Now with the approach of a new term, we believe that circumstances warrant that we strike this balance differently. At this point, continued extension of the administrative leave would do unwarranted harm to your educational progress."
Seligmann's attorney, James P. Cooney III, said Finnerty received the same offer.
As for whether Seligmann would accept the offer and return to school, Cooney said: "He's considering his options."
Finnerty's attorneys did not immediately return a call.
Duke officials had no immediate comment.
The case is not expected to go to trial before this spring. All three players have said they are innocent.
The case faces its next hurdle at a hearing Feb. 5, when the defense is expected to ask a judge to throw out results of a photo lineup in which the accuser identified the players. Without her identification, experts said, District Attorney Mike Nifong may have to drop the other charges.
"By now it should be plain to any person who has any objectivity that the charges against Reade are transparently false," the Seligmann family said in a statement Wednesday.
Nifong did not immediately return a call.
The scandal led to the resignation of Duke's lacrosse coach and the cancellation of the rest of the season for the highly ranked team.