All 5 University of Virginia Swimmers Suspended in 2014 Now Face 10-Count Hazing Lawsuit

In October of 2014, 5 members of the University of Virginia men’s swimming team were suspended from competition for what the school called at the time “violations of University of Virginia policy and athletics department rules.” Multiple sources would later confirm the suspensions to be on accusations of hazing.

All 5 men included in the 2014 suspension are now facing a serious, 10-count lawsuit including charges of assault, battery, false imprisonment, hazing, tortuous interference with a contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and two counts of conspiracy to commit those acts.

Kyle Dudzinski, Luke Papendick, Charles Rommel, David Ingraham and Jacob Pearce are defendants in the lawsuit, which was just filed by 19-year old Anthony Marcantonio this past Monday, June 22nd.  The case also includes Marcantonio seeking punitive damages from the named upperclassmen.  Marcantonio’s testimony includes detailing out several hazing incidents instigated by the defendants, including one particular situation in August 2014.

In his official statements, Marcantonio details how, in the late night/early morning hours of August 27-28th  “he and other first-year members were instructed to participate in a series of hazing activities, some sexual in nature, under the threat of retaliation for non-compliance.”  Per Marcantonio, he and other first-year swimmers arrived at what is called the “Swim House” and were “blindfolded and subjected to false imprisonment, forced drinking (of beers, liquor, milk and prune juice), verbal abuse, forced sexual contact and a variety of intimidation tactics — including the threat of forced sodomy — at the hands of the five upperclassmen.” (Daily Progress)

The case further revealed that Marcantonio and others were also “told to chew live goldfish and grab one another’s genitalia” and were asked sexually explicit questions regarding themselves, as well as members of Virginia’s women’s swimming squad.  According to Marcantonio, the hazing continued into the following week, with the plaintiff receiving “threatening emails from a joint account created by the defendants under the name ‘Mr. Mean.” Messages of a “derogatory and degrading” nature ensued, which led to the first-year swimmers stealing items from “a retail store the university and another teammate” as part of a scavenger hunt, per the plaintiff’s statements.

Marcantonio claims he went directly to Virginia’s head men’s swimming coach, Augie Busch, as well as Virginia’s Dean of Students, Allen Groves on September 6th and 9th, respectively, to give testimony on the hazing and to seek their assistance.  According to Marcantonio, this act was not only met with threats by the upperclassmen in response, but the help offered by Busch came in the form of being told his “physical safety could not be guaranteed.” Marcantonio says Busch simply recommended that the athlete “protect himself by only swimming when other members of the team weren’t present.”

Marcantonio, having since transferred to Northwestern University to continue swimming, blames the defendants for destroying his University of Virginia swimming career, causing Marcantonio to leave the University and void his contract with the team.  Dudzinski and Papendick have since transferred to the University of Michigan, as just announced earlier this week.

More details, including any comments from Busch, Groves and the University of Virginia administration will be reported as soon as they are made available.

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8 years ago

I attended UVM AROUND 2000 when, for the first time ever, an entire season of a D1 sport, Hockey, was cancelled due to hazing. I though that was the turning point on hazing – the line in the sand. Same type of activities as here.

And for those of you that say that hazing has been and always will be a part of D1 sport, shame. Genocide still happens too and always has been a part of human history. Doesn’t mean it’s ok. Terrible reasoning. Just because you didn’t mind these indecent acts doesn’t mean that somebody else has too. There are means of hazing that do not cross the line. What is alleged here seems very inappropriate, as… Read more »

8 years ago

History does repeat itself. One of the defendants had a problem with this same behavior in high school. Just sayin….

July 1 Recruits
8 years ago

Sorry. I hit send button too soon on last one.

July 1 Recruits
8 years ago

This was not hazing. This was a team building experience.

When all is explained, everyone will realize how silly these charges are. If anything peoSexual contact??? It’s called the elephant walk….look it up…and all were clothed unlike the way many fraternities do it.

8 years ago

Hazing is bullying, and if anyone thinks that bullying is okay, well that’s just disgusting.

8 years ago

Let’s stop the comparisons between WKU and UVA’s situation. These cases are totally different. The 5 Virginia guys did not publicly post naked pictures of drunk & passed out girls. They did not get caught with illegal drugs. What happened at UVA was 5 college guys trying to have fun with new teammates in the only way college aged kids know how… with beer.

What happened at Virginia could have happened (and spoiler alert, does happen) at every University in the country. All of the people on here that are continuing to attack these 5 guys sicken me. I’ve seen posts saying how people’s children would never stand for such treatment and, on the contrary, that their children would… Read more »

8 years ago

While the shocking charges certainly elicit strong emotional responses about hazing, the college team environment, and personal responsibility it is not fair to either side to pass judgment before the case is heard in a court of law. We should have empathy for the victim and not pass judgment on the defendants.

Too many times the public fueled by media, personal beliefs, or experiences makes up their mind before all the facts are known (just see above comments on the website). After the court process we will have the court’s impartial decision based on facts and law as a starting point for debate.

It is entirely possible that a team building event could be viewed as hazing and a… Read more »

Ex UVA Fan
8 years ago

Wow – look at all of these comments!

With July 1st later this week – this crap only hurts recruiting! What decent kid would want to swim for UVA with all this drama? If he or she is fasted enough to swim for UVA, they have many other options with far less drama. My guess is UVA’s 2019 recruiting class will again be very poor.

UVA needs some leadership changes!

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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