Men’s Soccer Season Cancelled, Players Face Discipline

Humboldt State University has cancelled the 2012-13 Men’s soccer season and initiated disciplinary proceedings against a number of players for hazing and underage drinking at a party two weeks ago. Players were found to have violated rules in the student and student-athlete codes of conduct.

The team will not participate in any California Collegiate Athletic Association games or any University-sanctioned games for the entire academic year.

HSU has also begun investigating a recent allegation of hazing by members of the Women’s soccer team.

The suspension of the men’s soccer season stems from a party held off-campus Aug. 4, which involved more than 20 members of the soccer team. There were multiple instances of hazing designed to humiliate and degrade certain players. There was also highly dangerous level of alcohol use and underage drinking, though no students received medical attention.

University officials stressed that hazing is not tolerated at HSU, and expressed hope that the firm punishment would reinforce that message.

“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. “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.”

“I was truly taken aback by this incident and the number of students involved,” said Peg Blake, HSU’s Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. “It’s just so counter to the culture of caring and social responsibility at HSU. We need to be clear that hazing needs to be reported by those who know about it, who see it happening or who are targets. We all have a role to play. For the students involved in this, our goal is to make sure they stay on track academically. That’s the most important thing, that they do well in their classes and make progress toward earning their degrees.”

President Richmond has directed campus offices to create new programs and expand existing efforts related to hazing. These include random alcohol and drug testing of student-athletes, ensuring that NCAA best practices related to hazing are closely followed, new annual reporting and procedures within Intercollegiate Athletics, a strict requirement that all hazing and other student code violations be investigated by Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and a revision of the Life Skills class taken by student-athletes.

The incident was reported to University officials on Aug. 6, prompting a detailed investigation by HSU’s Office of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, in close cooperation with the University’s Intercollegiate Athletics Office. There was also consultation with HSU Athletics Faculty Representative Jeff Borgeld as well as the CSU Chancellor’s Office.

Campus police were informed of the investigation, and provided assistance where requested, and the Arcata Police Department was also informed. There have been no criminal complaints related to the incident, but that remains a possibility.

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.

The team punishment of a full suspension of the season resulted from violations of the code of conduct within Intercollegiate Athletics. There are no plans to withhold scholarships or eligibility.

“We just cannot have this sort of thing happening. It’s dangerous and it’s unacceptable,” said HSU Athletics Director Dan Collen. “I’ve made that clear to the coaches and players I’ve talked to, and I’ll continue to make that point throughout the year. Our student-athletes have been tremendous representatives of Humboldt State over the years, and this incident tarnishes that record. I expect better, the whole Humboldt State community expects better, and we won’t accept excuses.”

Hazing, broadly defined, is an activity expected of someone joining a group that humiliates them, degrades them, or risks emotional or physical harm. It is hazing regardless of whether the person is a willing participant. Hazing is illegal, and violates HSU’s student code of conduct as well as its student-athlete code of conduct.

Extensive information and resources about hazing are available at The organization cites, among other things, advice from Will Keim on making decisions about hazing.

1. If you have to ask if it’s hazing, it is.
2. If in doubt, call your advisor/coach/national office. If you won’t pick up the phone, you have your answer. Don’t B.S. yourself.
3. If you haze, you have low self-esteem.
4. If you allow hazing to occur, you are a ‘hazing enabler.’
5. Failure to stop hazing will result in death …

Resources related to hazing
- NCAA handbook on preventing hazing, includes tips for players and coaches
- – an organization dedicated to ending hazing.