This past fall season the McDaniel men’s soccer team faced some serious charges and accusations about hazing within the soccer program. Now, with the spring season around the corner the team is looking to rebuild its reputation not only on campus, but within the community as well.
According to Dean Gerl, the lead investigator of the incident, as some of the details were unearthed she “learned of unethical and questionable behavior to build community on the team.”
The “initiation” process and what the school deemed as hazing of the soccer freshman included an array of obligations that had to be completed before being officially accepted into the team.
The accusations of “unethical and questionable behavior” by the soccer team included tasks ranging from scavenger hunts to the peer prompted sexual questioning of McDaniel students.
The incidents “went against the McDaniel College stance on hazing- a violation of good standards,” Gerl continued.
When Gerl was provided with reports on hazing she took immediate investigative action. In order to complete the investigation Gerl interviewed both the coaching staff and players, and then provided the information to the President’s office.
Gerl went on to add that all official sanctions to the soccer program were to be left to the President and the athletic department.
When asked about other students involved with the “initiation” process Gerl responded “we focused on the soccer players.”
Athletic director Jamie Smith was initially very troubled by the issue, but is satisfied with the approach the soccer team has taken. “The team has been willing to embrace their punishment and is excited to prove to the community that they are not bad kids.”
Smith emphasized that learning from this situation to ensure it will never happened again is most important. The athletic department has had numerous meetings with the soccer team about the negative attention of this hazing debacle, and the college hopes to bring in a speaker to address all sports team on the hazing issue before next season.
Head coach Jim Reigel, who first heard of the issue through the McDaniel Free Press last November, has underlined the severity of this situation saying “this is the team’s one and only warning, if it happens again the result will be immediate dismissal from the program.”
Yet, the soccer team has a plan to regain their reputation.
Instead of a freshman “initiation,” the squad looks for a more appropriate way of bonding in the spring by completing a number of community services. Their work within the community will include mentoring local soccer teams, and various forms of fund raising.
Coach Reigel outlined the official sanctions by the College for the spring soccer season. Amongst the punishments are reduced, non-traditional practice times amounting to about 1/3 of the usual allotted spring practice schedule, no alumni game, and the team was forced to forfeit their “friendly” or spring scrimmage.
Despite all of the negative publicity surrounding the soccer program from last November’s hazing scandal, both Coach Reigel and Jamie Smith seem quite confident that the team has learned from the incident and will have no problem regaining its reputation not only on campus, but within the community as well.