Brown University Men Won’t Compete at 2018 Ivy Leagues as Investigation Continues

The Brown University men’s swimming & diving team will not compete at the 2018 Men’s Ivy League swimming & diving championship this weekend, a spokesperson for the university has confirmed.

The investigation into hazing allegations against members of the team, which were revealed in early December but reference in occasion in October, includes allegations that new team members “vandalized University property, were instructed to perform a skit and vomited after excessive drinking.” Emergency Medical Services were called for one male member of the team who had drunk too much, according to a member of the women’s team cites by the school’s student newspaper. A former member of the men’s team, who asked to remain anonymous, disputes that, saying that Emergency Medical Services “was not called nor was it needed.” That former swimmer, who is still on campus in graduate school, says that he did not participate in the night’s activities but did stop by toward the end of the night, and says that while one freshman was drunk enough to throw up, that he didn’t observe anybody who was “passed out.” In his words, the party was “remarkably tame,” and that he feels like the reaction, including this suspension, has been overblown.  (Read more about the investigation here).

Piling on to the allegations of hazing, a recording of the team revealed that a team captain instructed new team members to deny any hazing allegations, saying that “There’s things that are out there that could be damaging, it’s just about how we spin it right now.”

Only 1 senior remained on Brown’s roster after the holiday break.

This is the third team-wide disciplinary incident to crop up within the Ivy League in the past two years. Princeton suspended its entire men’s swimming & diving team for all of last season after offensive content was found in a team listserv. Dartmouth cancelled three meets, the team’s winter training trip and put the women’s swim team on probation over the summer over a “sexualized PowerPoint” that first-year team members were told to create.

The spokesperson for the university tells SwimSwam that they “expect the investigation into hazing allegations and the student conduct review process to reach a conclusion in the coming weeks.” He also said that the school will make public any sanctions imposed on the team at the conclusion of the process.

Last weekend, the Harvard women won their 3rd Ivy League title in 5 seasons. This season’s men’s championship kicks off Wednesday at the Denunzio Pool in Princeton, New Jersey. Harvard are the defending champions of that meet, while Princeton had won the 2 editions prior to their year-long suspension. Brown’s men have never won an Ivy League title, and finished in the bottom 2 of the last 9 Ivy League Championship meets after a 6th-place result (out of then-9 teams) in 2008.

Updated: article was updated on February 21 to add input from a former member of the team who believes that the night’s events were much-less-severe than has been initially reported.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

Well looks like I’m the only one who supports this haha. Nobody should be drinking on college campuses there are other more creative ways to have fun than getting wasted

5 years ago

If these student athletes do feel that violated, I suggest they consider transferring to another college that respects them as individuals. Remember- life isn’t always fair and life isn’t only about swimming.

Reply to  Sarah
5 years ago

The issue is that the university drew out the “investigation” for so long (5 months) that the men missed all deadlines for transferring either with or without swimming. They are trapped at Brown under an administration that does not have their best interests at heart… instead, trying to make an example and oversimplify a situation that had been complicated and blown out of proportion by false info.

Reply to  Swimgirl
5 years ago

I would suspect that these swimmers knew they were under investigation with the possibility of their season and future seasons being canceled. All they had to do was witness and learn from the experience at Princeton to see the consequences of this behavior, whether right or wrong. So they had plenty of time to think about their academic and athletic future and prepare accordingly.

Reply to  Sarah
5 years ago

Sarah, The assumption that the men should have “had plenty of time to think about their academic and athletic future and prepare accordingly” is presumptuous at best. First, the men were told that their punishment was the loss of a training trip and a January meet. They had every hope that they would be able to compete at Ivy League Championships, and never expected to have the following year cancelled. To think that they could look at the Princeton example, live through the stress of the investigation, train, study, and make a wise decision about whether to transfer–it just makes no sense. Additionally, they can not even speak to coaches until they have been released by Brown Athletics. So they… Read more »

Reply to  Fallson
5 years ago

…there should have been a WHOLE LOT MORE THINKING on the front end of this situation by all involved!!!

The bottom line on this whole mess is that they did not take HAZING seriously. They didn’t believe they were HAZING. Now they are finding out just how SERIOUS a thing HAZING is. Universities do not want to discourage HAZING….universities want to ELIMINATE HAZING.

The sooner ALL students understand this, the sooner these situations will cease to exist.

5 years ago

EMS was never called on the evening in question NOT because teammates were ignoring an ill swimmer but because nobody required medical assistance….All activities were entirely optional – no pressure to participate and no pressure to drink. The freshmen did NOT think this was hazing. Not all upperclassmen even participated in the event….The supposed cover up and “spin” comments stem from the fact that there was underage drinking (not a huge shock on a college campus and certainly not a problem that is specific to athletes only). It is not a stretch to imagine other clubs and student organizations – including the student newspaper that sensationalized the hazing story – having “initiation” events that include alcohol….The team has been significantly… Read more »

Reply to  Reality
5 years ago

The problem is this is against the rules. I was an NCAA swimmer also, and I know for a fact our team did not do anything like this, because we knew the rules and the punishments.

I can guarantee you somebody from the university spoke with the about what constitutes hazing.

Yes, it is a problem at other universities, but with athletes under NCAA, they are all spoken to about this.

Reply to  Swimmer!
5 years ago

You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.

I felt bad at first, but then I remembered my NCAA swimming experience and remember going over the hazing rules EVERY SINGLE YEAR

Reply to  Swimmer!
5 years ago

Well stated SWIMMER! Kudos for you for bringing all this up.,,It is ALL true and pertinent to this situation.

Play stupid games, risk uncertain punishments, PAY THE PRICE & SHUT UP if caught…it’s that simple.

5 years ago

Absolutely ridiculous. This is the university using the swim team as a scapegoat for all the other hazing, underage drinking, etc that happens on campuses. Why don’t they investigate Greek life? Swimmers may have traditions, but at least they’re doing something productive with their time (competing & training at the d1 level and studying at some of the greatest institutions in the world). This punishment is completely unwarranted as was the Dartmouth womens’ suspension. I say let the swimmers have some fun as they work as hard as they do and instead investigate and ban Greek life, from which nothing good ever comes.

Reply to  SMH
5 years ago


Reply to  SMH
5 years ago

….we aren’t nearly as bad as that other organization, therefore we are completely innocent….even though we did directly violate team, athletic department and university rules that were specifically explained to us in our pre-season NCAA compliance meeting and, yes, we even succeeded at breaking a State law too….But those other guys, they don’t work as hard at what they do as we do, so, again, we’re completely & totally innocent because of that.

Ivy league???????????????????

Athletic Supporter
Reply to  YEAH, THAT'S THE TICKET.....
5 years ago

Not asking to be absolved of breaking the rules – just asking that the punishment fit the crime.

Reply to  Athletic Supporter
5 years ago

…these sanctions would be the punishment, then you would not have proceeded with that night’s activities????
Seems to me the PERFECT definition of a PENALTY……No???

Think about it Athletic Supporter. You’re saying – “We knowingly & willfully broke rules we were warned not to break, but we feel we’re being punished way to harshly.” Based on your poor judgement to knowingly go ahead with that night’s activities (specially with knowledge of what penalties have been handed down to other swimming programs in your own conference over the past 2-3 years), I’m not so sure you have a solid footing to be claiming enough intellect to be criticizing the “degree” of punishment you are being dealt. You’re either smart enough… Read more »

Swim Supporter
Reply to  OH, SO, IF YOU KNEW....
5 years ago

I disagree with you on multiple levels: precedent, transparency, timeliness, fairness, willingness of the team to accept reasonable punishment, alternative punishments, etc… I think my facts would hold up very well in a debate against your all or nothing perception of this incident. That said, it is not worth my time or effort to argue with a troll on a chat board. You will, of course, think this is a reason to gloat… you will, again, be incorrect.

Reply to  Swim Supporter
5 years ago

…but nice attempt.

Everything you state is true, when considered OUTSIDE of the parameters of HAZING Unfortunately for you, this whole situation is all about nothing but HAZING.

You want to defend your actions from a solid ground point of view that this was not HAZING, because YOU DON’T BELIEVE IT IS HAZING. That works great for you from that standpoint, unfortunately for you, THIS WAS HAZING, and therefore your solid ground has turned to quicksand…and you are finding out just how BAD quicksand is when you are mired in it.

If it wasn’t so sad, I’d find it amusing that you all are crying about the level of discipline that is being leveled against you, for KNOWINGLY BREAKING RULES/LAWS.… Read more »

That Debate Kid
Reply to  OH, SO, IF YOU KNEW....
5 years ago

I’m sorry you got rejected by an Ivy and cannot call yourself The Best & Brightest. Welcome to the bottom 90% club. But I’m sure you woulda fit right in at an Ivy as a Debate Club kid who laughs at defenses he doesn’t want to hear

Reply to  That Debate Kid
5 years ago

…but I’m already retired (in the Caribbean no less) from a very successful career in this sport, having coached Olympic, World, European and USA Championship medalists, NCAA Individual & Relay Champions/Record Breakers, numerous Top 10 NCAA Championship Teams and never had an inkling of a desire to attend an Ivy League institution.

I spent over 25 years as an NCAA Coach at different NCAA divisions and institutions of all sizes and make-up. As such, I was involved in the process of making sure my student-athletes understood what HAZING is, and to make sure they understood that any activities that could be even remotely considered HAZING, would result in consequences they would not like, nor care to have to deal with.… Read more »

5 years ago

Apparently smart enough to get into the IVY’s…but lacking in the maturity it takes to be a good teammate. “Spin” clearly they still dont grasp the severity of the situation.

Jay ryan
Reply to  Sportsfan
5 years ago

Severity? Please try a little measure and perspective.

Reply to  Jay ryan
5 years ago

If this whole situation was so innocent, with no pressure from upperclassmen toward freshmen, why then was the Team Captain, in a student-athlete ONLY meeting mind you, recorded saying:

“There’s things that are out there that could be damaging, it’s just about how we spin it right now.”

instead of:

“He guys, we did nothing wrong, we have nothing to be concerned about. When they come to you, TELL THEM THE TRUTH and we’ll be OK.”

Sumpin’ seems a lil fishy.

Reply to  WONDERING?
5 years ago

Because in this age of victim culture, things that are not actually harmful are regarded as such. The team knew people would blow this out of proportion which is exactly what happened. The quote simply means telling them why this was not actually a harmful event, as just about every freshman agreed.

Reply to  Think
5 years ago

Dear “THINK”,

Please READ your statement closely and understand just how juvenile, simple minded and dumb it actually sounds!!!

“Because in this age of victim culture, things that are not actually harmful are regarded as such. The team knew people would blow this out of proportion which is exactly what happened.”

So what you are stating is:

– Knowing you were going to be involved in activities that, by your own admission, had the potential to be blown out of proportion, you CHOSE to go ahead and do the activities. If they were going to be innocent and non-harmful activities, but you were fairly certain they would be interpreted as harmful, why not pre-approve the activities with the powers that… Read more »

5 years ago

Is there going to be a Ivy League Championships Fan Guide?

5 years ago

Me thinks Brown is sorta down. NOT like Erika “DOWNtown” Brown of Tennessee! You guys will be OK just take chill pill.

Reply to  Bupwa
5 years ago

How about Downtown Julie Brown?

5 years ago

If EMS was not in fact called, then it’s not a big deal. The coach should be disciplining these kids, not the university. Teams have had less punishment for much worse offenses.

Reply to  Goose
5 years ago

This could actually be tricky. Yes, nobody died, but you can get in a lot of trouble if EMS was not called in a situation where a person shows signs of needing EMS. Especially if one of the swimmers tells another swimmer to not call EMS. Or if one of the freshman being hazed later insists that EMS should have been called on them.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »