Skidmore College officials informed the school's men's soccer team Thursday that its spring schedule had been cancelled following an investigation into an off-campus hazing incident last fall.
A team initiation held Nov. 30, referred to by some as "Rookie Night," reportedly involved hazing and underage drinking. College president Phillip Glotzbach said that he was "disappointed and saddened" to inform Skidmore community members that an investigation by Campus Safety necessitated disciplinary action against 28 students, including 24 members of the soccer team.
"All student-athletes sign a pledge at the start of every season stating that they will not engage in any form of hazing," Glotzbach wrote in a letter posted Thursday on the Skidmore website. "They are public ambassadors for the College; as such, we expect them to represent Skidmore at its very best. In failing to honor that pledge, the students in question have not only endangered a number of their fellow students but also threatened the core values that bind and undergird our entire community."
In addition, all athletes found to have participated in the incident are barred from competing in any spring sport, and a number of soccer team members will face suspensions for "significant portions" of the fall season, the letter said.
Skidmore is not the first school to take such forceful action in response to hazing. In 1999, the University of Vermont made national headlines when it terminated its men's hockey season. The Elk River High School football program was suspended one week before its 2010 season opener due to a series of hazing incidents.
Hazing, and the legal challenges that come with it, has even trickled down to the middle school level.
And this isn't the first time Skidmore has been forced to deal with hazing. Eight hockey players were disciplined in 2004, and hazing allegations may have played a role in the decision to de-charter the Skidmore Wombats ultimate Frisbee team in 2010, according to The Saratogian.