College sports media outlet The Intercollegiate analyzed team rules documents from 236 different college sports programs, finding that swimming was among the most likely to include specific anti-hazing rules.
The Intercollegiate‘s report highlighted team rules documents that are often lengthy and extremely detailed, governing student-athlete behavior and responsibilities while part of a Division I athletic program. The team rules documents came through public records requests from 52 different Division I schools, comprising 236 different sports programs.
“The scope of these rules shows how much control schools have over their athletes, which supports an argument that they are in fact employees of the institution,” argues one source in that story, a former NCAA official who now runs a law firm that represents student-athletes.
The Intercollegiate references team rules that govern everything from marriage (UConn football players are required to inform their coach if they plan to get married while in college) to legal-aged drinking to bodily hygiene. Here are a few of the more swimming-specific takeaways from that report:
- Football and swimming were the most likely programs to include specific anti-hazing language in team rules. The Intercollegiate notes that hazing is universally prohibited on Division I campuses
- Revenue sports were more likely than non-revenue sports (like swimming) to set specific alcohol restrictions on student-athletes of legal age. One specific rule referenced: Texas A&M’s softball program, which essentially forbids student-athletes and coaches from being in the same alcohol-serving restaurant at the same time, in the interest of avoiding public perception that coaches are condoning athlete drinking.
The report focuses on student-athlete requirements, which is a major argument in the push to allow college athletes to earn money for their athletic skills, whether directly from schools or from outside sources. That will have its own impact on swimming & diving at the college level. But The Intercollegiate story also has another tangential connection to swimming, in the data about anti-hazing rules.
Hazing & Swimming – A High-Cost History
Most noteworthy: Western Kentucky suspended its swimming program for five years after a Title IX investigation into hazing allegations. That suspension would technically be over this fall, but the school eliminated all funding for swimming & diving and does not appear to be bringing the program back.
East Carolina and Dartmouth were both cut this offseason. And while both schools justified the cuts with solely budgetary reasons, both programs also faced 2017 hazing allegations that brought some level of bad press to their schools. Dartmouth canceled its fall meets and winter training trip, while ECU was cleared as a team, with individual athletes still subject to punishment for their conduct.