BGSU Hockey Hazing Investigation Leads to Reinstatement of Coach

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Bowling Green State University has reinstated head hockey coach Ty Eigner and found that multiple players violated the code of student conduct following an investigation into an alleged hazing incident. 

As reported by CBS affiliate WTOL in Toledo, Ohio, BGSU found through an external, independent investigator that the alleged activities involving multiple student-athletes included underage drinking and provision of alcohol to those underage by older members of the BGSU hockey team. The investigation also found there was conduct with the potential to cause humiliation, physical harm or emotional harm.

In a statement, the university said that disciplinary action for the players that violated the code of conduct is still being determined and is not yet known what punishment, if any, there will be. 

BGSU said their review of the investigation, "suggests that no member of the BGSU hockey staff had any direct knowledge of the off-campus event." As a result, head coach Eigner will return to his normal duties. Eigner had been placed on administrative leave in September at the outset of the investigation. At that time, three unnamed players were suspended also.

According to WTOL's report, the Bowling Green Police Department said that it is not recommending any charges as it relates to Ohio hazing laws for any students, staff or coaches.

The investigation was initiated last month when BGSU campus police informed city police of an alleged off-campus hazing incident involving the hockey team and asked them to investigate.

Several days after the investigation came to light, hockey player Austen Swankler used a social media post to identify himself as the victim in the alleged hazing incident. He also said he intended to transfer to another school because of the incident. 

Also in his social media post, Swankler apparently noted BGSU's recent history of alleged hazing cultures among some university organizations, particularly in Greek life.

Sophomore student Stone Foltz died from alcohol poisoning in March 2021 after a fraternity initiation event at an off-campus house. Since then, the family of Stone Foltz launched the iamstonefoltz Foundation as an effort to stop hazing at college campuses across the country. 

Bowling Green said that because of the hockey incident, athletic director Derek van der Merwe will, "assume additional oversight over the hockey program."

The hockey coaching staff will also receive additional employment trainings and the university said they will be increasing its day-to-day monitoring to ensure the program is supported.

The university said that, "hazing is a national issue and has no place on any college campus. BGSU will continue to take all reports seriously and remains committed to a culture of accountability," WTOL reported.

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