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RoughRiders' Michalek Was Involved In Harvard Academic Cheating Scandal

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Steve Michalek wore a plain white goaltender's helmet Wednesday night in the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders' 3-1 win over Lincoln at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, not the painted Harvard University mask he has been wearing.

Don't read anything into that, however.

"It's my old high-school helmet," the RoughRiders goaltender said.

Michalek reiterated his intention to return to Harvard next year. He left school a month or so ago and joined the RoughRiders for a "few different reasons."

The main reason was pretty much leaked earlier this week by one of his Harvard teammates. On the heels of three other Crimson players (including two prominent NHL draft picks) being deleted from the roster, goalie Raphael Girard told the Harvard student newspaper The Crimson that players on his team were involved in an academic cheating scandal that first came to light in late August.

Approximately 125 students, including several members of Harvard's basketball, football and baseball teams, were suspected of plagarizing answers and improperly sharing answers to an open-book final exam in a government class.

"Some guys had to take a year absent. I won't say any names, but like any other team, we might have some problems with the academic scandal," Girard said. "Some of them just want to take leaves to get more playing time and come back later because they were younger guys. Some other guys were just injured. But overall, they're going to come back; they're still part of our family and still part of our team."

Michalek was asked after his second RoughRiders' win if he was disappointed that he was essentially outted by a teammate.

"I know there was a lot of speculation when I left," he said. "I wasn't playing this year. But I didn't really want to have that reputation of leaving my team. It's fine now. I'd almost rather have it this way. It kind of looks bad, but I didn't want to be known as a quitter. I also didn't want it to look like I messed up and everything.

"But it got out. Whatever. I made a mistake."

As punishment, Michalek will sit out this academic year, which will allow him to return to school and hockey as a sophomore next year.

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