Boston College Indefinitely Suspends Swim and Dive Program for Hazing

by Riley Overend 143

September 20th, 2023 ACC, College, News

UPDATE: BC Freshmen Swimmers Allegedly Forced to Drink Their Own Vomit

In a stunning move, Boston College indefinitely suspended its men’s and women’s swimming and diving program on Wednesday after administrators determined that hazing had occurred.

However, a letter from the Office of the Dean of Students later that day said that BC “has in no way made any determination about whether or not any policy violations have occurred” and a revised statement from school on Thursday said the university had only received “credible reports of hazing.”

“The University does not — and will not — tolerate hazing in any form,” BC said in its initial statement. “During the suspension, all Swimming and Diving student-athletes will continue to have access to academic and medical resources provided to all Boston College student-athletes.

“Based on the information known at this time, Athletics has determined a program suspension is warranted, pending a full investigation by the University,” the school said in an updated statement on Thursday.  “Consistent with University policy, the matter will be investigated by the Office of the Dean of Students and adjudicated fairly and impartially through the student conduct process. Once the investigation and adjudication process is complete, Athletics will reassess the status of the teams.”

Both the BC men and women’s teams placed 12th out of 12 teams at the 2023 ACC Championships in their first season under former Notre Dame assistant Joe Brinkman. Still, it was a relatively successful season for the Eagles considering they don’t offer swimming scholarships as they broke three school and 15 pool records at their rivalry meet against Boston University in January.

It’s rare for colleges to self-suspend entire programs for hazing, but it has happened before. In 2015, Western Kentucky suspended its men’s and women’s swimming and diving program for five years in the wake of a hazing scandal that resulted in the termination of the coaching staff. Ultimately, the school cut the program.

Brinkman leads a BC coaching staff that included assistant coach Brian Keane, assistant coach Alexander Santana, and diving coach Jack Lewis.

The Eagles were slated to start their season Saturday with a Maroon vs. Gold intrasquad meet before officially beginning the regular ant George Washington on Oct. 7.

BC isn’t offering additional details at the moment, but the part of the university’s hazing policy is available below:

Hazing refers to any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades, or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate. Hazing is a complex social problem that is shaped by power dynamics operating in a group and/or organization and within a particular cultural context.

Hazing activities are generally considered to be physically abusive, hazardous, and/or sexually violating. The specific behaviors or activities within these categories vary widely among participants, groups, and settings. While alcohol use is common in many types of hazing, other examples of typical hazing practices include personal servitude; sleep deprivation and restrictions on personal hygiene; yelling, swearing, and insulting new members/rookies; being forced to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire in public; consumption of vile substances or smearing of such on one’s skin; brandings; physical beatings; binge drinking and drinking games; sexual simulation and sexual assault.

For such activities to be considered hazing, forced or mandated participation is not required. If a new member feels that he or she will not be considered a fully participating member of the group or feels that they would be ostracized for not participating in particular behaviors (for example, alcohol use), then such implied coercion would be considered hazing.

Back in 2016, former BC head coach Tom Groden told the school’s student newspaper, The Heights, that he thought the program might be cut because of the new recreation center that doesn’t have either a separate diving well or a 3-meter diving board. He resigned later that year midseason after more than four decades in Chestnut Hill.

Related: New BC Pool Plans Don’t Include 3-Meter Diving Board

“I have been told swimming is going to be cut by people who think they know what they’re talking about,” Groden said. “I haven’t been told that by (former athletic director Brad) Bates, and he’s probably the only person who could effectively tell me. … Do I believe it? I don’t know. Been asked this question for years.”

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5 months ago

I love it when college athletic programs throw swim and dive under the bus to prove that they doing something about a particular issue. How often are football teams suspended for hazing? Basketball? Nope. They use swim and dive to send a message. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s happening in most athletics there.

Reply to  Anonymous
5 months ago

Certainly easier politically to suspend a program when nobody’s getting a scholarship.

Red rocket
5 months ago

My coach hazes me every day in practice based on that definition

5 months ago

If true, the people behind these allegations should be punished appropriately. However, the loss of yet another power 5 swim program cannot be the best response

This Guy
Reply to  SwimmingPagani
5 months ago

Your preaching to the choir. Unfortunately the admin at the school doesn’t care about our feeling

ACC swim geek
5 months ago

BC built a new pool without a diving well–obviously setting up the team for failure. I believe the team will get cut and the pool will be used for recreational purposes. Regardless, even if the team doesnt get cut, the pool will be used for recreational purposes considering BC is essentially a recreational team.

5 months ago

Everyone knows that when a school is in financial trouble, they cut swimming as an easy fix. They did it with WKU, except what they didn’t tell you is that by “suspending” the team for 5 years, they could still allocate that money to other teams without violating NCAA regulations. They also didn’t tell you that the allegations were proven false and that the NCAA and Police department said there was not enough evidence to convict anyone, so the school decided to suspend the team anyways.
If hazing is occuring, get rid of the students responsible, fire coaches if there is definitive proof (via properly file complaints to the university) that they knew about the incidents. Suspending an entire… Read more »

5 months ago

Was part of a club that was banned for a year due to “hazing”. No hazing occured, the title 9 counsel based the ban on “someone who was there told someone who wasn’t there who told someone who wasn’t there, who’s girlfriend filed report”. Convinced at this point people who rather college kids be depressed in their rooms then be part of friend groups. UNLESS it’s a Greek ORG. Then their standard of “hazing” is far higher, because of alumni money of course

Coach Newman
5 months ago

And I thought the CMS Stag Survival Guide was bad… welcome to the clown club

5 months ago

Updated statement, the BC dean of students has posted a statement contradicting the Athletic Department statement, saying no false allegations have been determined!!

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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