Much like fraternities, college football teams like to characterize themselves as a brotherhood. Each school’s squad is unique, with its own longstanding traditions that are passed down from year to year. These traditions transcend coaches, playbooks, and even the players themselves. Regardless of any of these factors, the traditions are things that are attached to the school — to the program. Oftentimes, especially at small colleges, these traditions can include some type of hazing.
Again, much like fraternities, these teams have had to become comfortable occasionally working off the record to hold onto their traditions. More often than not, they are preserving harmless acts of camaraderie that welcome the next generation to the fold; a strict “no hazing policy” isn’t going to stop them from doing that. Sometimes these acts aren’t so harmless, though, but even then the policy still does not stop them.
Five Wheaton College football players are facing felony charges for what is being described as a “hazing incident” that took place last spring. We don’t know enough to say whether this was a terrible tradition finally exposed or just some rogue student-athletes taking things way too far, but what we do know is that the crime being alleged is very, very wrong, and crossed the line of what is acceptable.
From Chicago Tribune:
Five Wheaton College football players face felony charges after being accused of a 2016 hazing incident in which a freshman teammate was restrained with duct tape, beaten and left half-naked with two torn shoulders on a baseball field.
A DuPage County judge signed arrest warrants and set $50,000 bonds against the players — James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel, Benjamin Pettway, Noah Spielman and Samuel TeBos — late Monday afternoon. Prosecutors charged the athletes with aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint.
They are expected to turn themselves in to authorities this week.
Three of the accused played in Wheaton College’s victory over Carthage College Saturday, and all were listed on the team roster as of Monday afternoon. The Division III program is ranked fourth in the country.
The victim, who the Tribune is not naming, left the conservative Christian school shortly after the incident and now attends college in Indiana.
This is a scenario that is far too familiar to those in the Greek community. A tale as old as time: something that was intended to be an act of “hazing” gets taken too far, and now it is national news.
These charges are alleged, and I’m sure details will become more clear in the coming weeks, but this is deeply troubling stuff. The victim’s testimony is damning, as he leaves no details to the imagination. It includes claims of sexual acts as well as physical injuries that required surgical attention, not to mention that the kid was severally traumatized by the ordeal.
College administrators learned about the incident shortly after it happened from coaches and other team members, according to the school’s statement. It immediately launched an internal investigation and college trustees retained experts to lead a campuswide review of its “anti-hazing policy and of the culture around how students treat one another in our campus communities, athletic teams and organizations.”
A question that will be impressed upon Wheaton College administrators is why they would continue to allow students to play football with charges like these potentially looming. They have known about the incident since it allegedly happened in March, and yet as recent as this past week, three of the five students were still on the field.
If this thing goes down the road it feels like it’s about to, then the college is going to have some serious explaining to do. It is especially suspicious that these are some of the key players on a highly-ranked football team. Not a great look.
Since they weren’t forced to miss any game action, was there at least an alternative punishment handed out?
Sources told the Tribune that several players were required to perform 50 hours of community service and write an eight-page essay reflecting on their behavior
An eight-page paper and some community service that the football team was probably going to do anyway. That’s the equivalent of Ray Rice catching two games for KOing his wife. But don’t the rest of you dare partake in underage drinking on campus; I guarantee they’d crack down on that shit.
Whether these allegations prove true or not, we can learn from this. If you’re going to haze (which you are), be careful how far you go. Know where the line is, and don’t cross it. Because college is only four years, but a felony will stick with you for the rest of your life..
[via Chicago Tribune]
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