Almost three months after campus administrators say members of the men's soccer team hosted an off-campus party where underage drinking took place, Skidmore College cancelled its upcoming soccer season. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on why college officials believe the allegations rise to the level of hazing.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Following a winning season in the fall, the Skidmore Thoroughbreds will not have a season this spring. The college announced the decision in a letter to the campus community Thursday after a months-long investigation into alleged hazing.
"I think the college's actions are a demonstration of our concern for the health, wellness and safety of our students," said Rochelle Calhoun, Skidmore’s dean of student affairs.
Administrators say on November 30th, members of the men’s soccer team hosted an off-campus initiation party known as "Rookie Night." Through an internal investigation, school officials determined underage teammates were encouraged to drink alcohol.
The school has passed its findings along to local law enforcement agencies for review.
"It just appears to have been some drinking at an off-campus house but no type of violence or anything like that occurred," said Saratoga Springs Police Lieutenant John Catone.
Calhoun acknowledged no students are believed to have been verbally or physically forced into drinking. However, administrators believe the alleged actions at the party still rise to the level of hazing.
"I think the camaraderie that was being created by the activities, you know, it's hard not to join the group," Calhoun said.
While their investigation is ongoing, investigators say it's unlikely any formal hazing charges would be filed without a complainant stepping forward claiming a serious personal injury.
"Nothing like that occurred in this situation,” Catone said. “If we're talking about elevating the level of crime, those things certainly would have to be involved."
Regardless of whether legal action is taken, school officials say all student-athletes sign a code of conduct. They stand by their assessment that the team's actions threatened the "core values that bind and undergird" the campus community.
"We wanted to be sure the college's actions demonstrated how seriously we took the behavior that was reported to us," Calhoun said.
The spring soccer season was scheduled to consist of roughly four weeks of practice, one tournament and an alumni game.