Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Two from Idaho caught up in Humboldt hazing controversy

A pair of sophomores from the state of Idaho are caught up in hazing controversy at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., where the men’s soccer season has been cancelled and the women’s team is under investigation.

The university announced the cancellation of the 2012-13 men’s soccer season Monday and that it has begun disciplinary proceedings against players for hazing and underage drinking that allegedly occurred at a party held off-campus August 4. The incidents are in violation of the northern California school’s student and student-athlete codes of conduct. 

The school also announced it is investigating a similar incident involving the women’s soccer team.  

“Given my understanding of what occurred, I am first of all relieved that all of the students involved are safe,” said HSU President Rollin Richmond in the school’s announcement. “I hope that the team and individual disciplinary actions send a clear message that this was unacceptable. Hazing is not tolerated at Humboldt State, not in Athletics and not in any other area. Going forward, we will be implementing a series of additional steps to ensure that students learn about the risks involved with hazing. I will insist that every unit on campus participate in this effort as appropriate, and that they do so cooperatively and seriously.” 

"Following careful investigation including interviews with team members, the university has concluded that an incident of hazing did occur, and that it placed the lives of two students in real jeopardy," Richmond said in a letter to the campus, according to an AP report

Due to privacy laws, individual disciplinary actions will not be made public. The student-athletes will face the same punishments that non-athletes would have faced for similar infractions. Those punishments range from written warnings to expulsion from the state's university system. While the individual proceedings continue, members of the team will retain their athletic scholarships despite the team being on probation.

Though the university and its officials refuse to release the list of individuals involved on either side of the hazing, the rosters of both teams are available online and include a pair of players from the Inland Northwest.  Mitch Butt of Boise, ID is among the players on the men’s team that will miss the 2012 season. On the women's team is Allie Swanson of Eagle, ID.