The Boston College club water polo team is currently undergoing investigation after being accused of hazing activities. As of last week, they have been stripped of their status as a club at BC and will have to apply for reinstatement next fall, depending on the results of the investigation.
The team’s spring season had commenced with a scrimmage against BU, which they won 7-6 scoring late in the game after a key defensive steal by Ian Malone. The rest of the team’s spring season would have included a tournament over the weekend of Marathon Monday, which has been cancelled due to the recent allegations.
The hazing policy at BC is incredibly strict. Club sports directors want to ensure the safety of club sport athletes by educating every club as thoroughly as possible on the dangers of hazing. At the beginning of the year, each club sport had to send a representative to a meeting in which they showed a video that gave a fatal example of just how dangerous hazing can be.
Last week BCPD contacted members of the club water polo team concerning events that took place in the month of February. After several interviews, it was decided that the water polo team had violated hazing policies and that several senior members of the team would have to undergo investigation. Some of the athletes may even be facing further penalties beyond discontinuation the club, depending on what the investigation uncovers.
No freshman were injured during any of the alleged hazing activities, most of which were humorous daytime enterprises such as manning the elevator in Campanella, pushing buttons like a bell boy for everyone in it, and interrupting classes with ridiculous skits. The freshman acted out a scene from Ghostbusters in class, running around with sheets over their head and playing the theme song on ipod speakers. Such activities as these involve no danger and are merely embarrassing, spoken of fondly as fun times.
It is known that activities dubbed as hazing by administration can actually serve to galvanize team chemistry and are evidence that team members who have fun together play well together. However, BC administration cannot afford to take any chances in allowing leeway with hazing, even if there is no danger involved. For example, it is normal for the freshman on any sports team to be in charge of balls or equipment among other tasks that the team assigns them to. They aren’t forced necessarily, but it is just an accepted fact that they have to do the teams unwanted labor and the next year, they will ask the freshman to be in charge of equipment, etc.
The hazing policy at BC is such that any form of hazing, no matter how friendly or harmless, is technically against the rules and subject to investigation and penalization. Club sports are a wonderful addition to such a sports oriented school as BC and it would be a shame to see a club sport cease to exist because of several harmless team-bonding activities. Hopefully the investigation does not reveal any dangerous or degrading hazing tasks and we can see the club water polo team back in action in the fall.